Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 15 May 2014
There is only one question on peoples’ lips ahead of this weekend’s upcoming fifth round of the 2014 MotoGP Championship: Can anybody stop Marc Marquez?
Having won all four races so far this season, Marc Marquez heads into Le Mans with a 28 point championship lead. The Spaniard, who just this week extended his contract with Honda, has proven untouchable so far this season and should he take the win in France on Sunday he will become the first rider to win the first five races of a season since Giacomo Agostini in 1972.
The only rider to have come close to beating Marquez so far this season is Valentino Rossi, who fought for the lead with the Spaniard until the penultimate lap at the season opener in Qatar. The nine-time World Champion was also on Marquez’ tail for a short while last time out in Jerez before the cheeky Spaniard pulled the pin and opened the gap even further. Rossi has enjoyed some strong results at the French circuit in the past, despite having only taken three premier class victories at the circuit. Two of his best results in his two years at Ducati came at Le Mans in iffy conditions.
Weather is always a talking point around the French Grand Prix, with wet or damp races for the last three years in a row. In 2013, comfortable with his Repsol Honda in the wet conditions, Dani Pedrosa shot into the lead early on and didn’t look back while Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both suffered with problems and Marc Marquez took a little time to learn how to ride his MotoGP bike in the wet. When he did learn it, however, he charged from eighth to third place, so come rain or shine money has to be on Marquez.
It will be a big weekend for Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who was beaten not just by the Hondas in Jerez but his older team-mate too. The Spaniard has suffered a torrid start to the 2014 season with just one podium to his name from the first four races.
Dani Pedrosa has taken four podiums this season but hasn’t even come close to victory. He’ll be keen to show he’s still got what it takes to beat Marquez with questions being raised about his future with the Repsol Honda team.
Although the weather forecast looks good at the moment, rain cannot be ruled out for Sunday’s races and rookie MotoGP rider Scott Redding has told Bike Social that the open bikes could get closer if it rains. “If it rains anything can happen. It could be a wet/dry race. We’ll just have to see how the bike feels, we’ve got to keep plugging away all the time” said Redding.
In Moto2, the Marc VDS team head into Le Mans with a commanding championship lead with Esteve Rabat on 83 points and Mika Kallio on 67. Rookie Maverick Vinales sits third in the championship with Dominique Aegerter in third. It’s hard to see past the MarcVDS boys for the win but there are ten or so other riders who’ll be targeting the top step.
The Moto3 championship is as close as ever between Jack Miller and Romano Fenati, who both have two wins to their name. Five points separate the pair ahead of round five with Vazquez twelve points further back in third.