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Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez fastest in warm-up

Marc Marquez fastest during warm-up for the 2014 French MotoGP at Le Mans.
CLICK HERE to view Warm-up results for the French MotoGP.

Marc Marquez maintained his position at the head of the timesheets during warm-up for the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

Marquez starts this afternoon's race from a perfect fifth pole of the season and ready to defend his undefeated win streak, which has handed him a 28 point lead over team-mate and nearest rival Dani Pedrosa.

Riding in clear, sunny conditions Marquez - on pole by almost 0.7s - initially checked both his RC213V machines, before posting eight successive fast laps.

The Repsol Honda rider replaced Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone at the top on the third of those laps, all but one of which was in the 1m 33s, to finish the session with an advantage of 0.161s over Iannone.

While the likes of Iannone - who ran the extra-soft rear tyre, only available to Ducati and the Open class, and may use it in the race - plus front row starters Pol Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso have appeared near the top this weekend, Marquez's main race rivals are still considered to be Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

The Movistar Yamaha riders will start from the second row, but feel they can take the fight to Marquez.

Rossi and Lorenzo backed up their words with third (+0.328s) and fourth (0.352s) places in warm-up and, like Marquez, concentrated on a single long run. Both set twelve successive fast laps, Rossi managing three in the 1m 33s, with an impressive eight for Lorenzo.

Lorenzo is the only rider to have beaten Marquez in a track session this weekend.

While Marquez's pace is beyond doubt, a potential chink in his so far impenetrable armour is that - unlike at the previous four rounds - he is expected to use the softer of the two rear tyre compounds for the race.

“Although temperatures are warmer than we usually experience at Le Mans, this circuit isn't demanding on tyres so most riders will opt for their softer rear slick option for the race,” said Bridgestone's Shinji Aoki.

That could aid the Yamaha riders, who seem to prefer the softer rear, with Lorenzo admitting it had been a mistake for him not to use that compound last time in Jerez.

While Marquez claimed pole by almost 0.7s, second to twelfth places in qualifying were covered by only half a second. Rookie Pol Espargaro took a debut front row for the home Tech 3 Yamaha team with Andrea Dovizioso claiming Ducati's best qualifying result of the season in third.

Espargaro, who is 'realistic' about his race pace, was nevertheless an encouraging fifth in warm-up (+0.547s).

By contrast Dovizioso, who feels he is in better shape than for any other race this season, was only tenth and behind team-mate Cal Crutchlow. The Englishman had his best session of the weekend to claim ninth with a lap 0.670s slower than Marquez.

Pedrosa, nursing his forearm after recent arm-pump surgery, will start ninth on the grid and was sixth this morning, just ahead of satellite Honda riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl. Bradl, who also underwent recent arm pump surgery, will lead the second row of the grid.

Top Open class rider Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3) were the final riders within one-second of Marquez this morning.

1. Marc Marquez
2. Andrea Iannone
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Jorge Lorenzo
5. Pol Espargaro
6. Dani Pedrosa
7. Alvaro Bautista
8. Stefan Bradl
9. Cal Crutchlow
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Bradley Smith
13. Nicky Hayden
14. Yonny Hernandez
15. Scott Redding
16. Hiroshi Aoyama
17. Colin Edwards
18. Hector Barbera
19. Karel Abraham
20. Broc Parkes
21. Michael Laverty
22. Mike Di Meglio

Tagged as: Honda , Marquez

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May 18, 2014 10:53 AM

Off topic as well, but did anyone see that Moto3 race? Holy crap!! One of the best races I have ever seen!! Please let this be a harbinger of the Moto2 and especially MotoGP race. Would be the best day of races ever, IMO.

Simon Cartledge

May 18, 2014 9:46 AM

Bit off topic but the Irish guy who's presenting today on BT Sport is much better than any presenter that's been used by them so far... ie Mel Sykes. To be honest though, they just need to get someone who really loves motogp (all the classes) and doesn't have to be paid to watch it. I still don't think Keith Heuwen quite knows what's going on 80% of the time. Rant over. Sorry.

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