MotoGP champion Marc Marquez believes race day heat melted his victory hopes at Le Mans on Sunday.

Starting from pole, and having set a peerless pace in morning warm-up, the Repsol Honda star made contact with Andrea Iannone through the flat-out first turn, then ran wide at the following chicane.

It looked like a minor blip as Marquez slotted back into a close fourth, ahead of eventual race runner-up Valentino Rossi. But Marquez continued to experience front-end issues and dropped as low as seventh before a late charge - and exciting duel with Iannone - put him back into fourth.

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"Today I think I fight more against my bike than my rivals but it was a difficult race," said Marquez, who crossed the finish line almost 20 seconds from winner Jorge Lorenzo. "In the warm-up I felt good and I was convinced I would be able to do a good race. But in the beginning of the race I saw that the feeling was not the same. I was struggling especially in the entry and the exit, then on the straight with the wheelie.

"Today the temperature rose sharply; we had not ridden in such conditions at any time this the weekend. We knew that with a rise in temperature, conditions change, but we expected it to be for the better and this time it was for the worse.

"But the important thing from my side is that I was not the only Honda that struggled. Everybody was struggling a lot. All the Hondas crash from the front. It was difficult to understand from my side to be slow and to take care of the front tyre.

"We must work hard now because we have many small problems that for one lap is ok, because the speed I have and you know that I'm an aggressive rider. For the race distance it's more difficult because doing 28 laps here in that way is difficult."

The #93 was the only RC213V rider not to fall in Sunday's race, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa, LCR's Cal Crutchlow and Marc VDS rider Scott Redding all sliding off.

He was forced to overcome a resilient challenge from Iannone and Marquez maintained this was the highlight of his race.

"It was the funny bit. It's the only time that I enjoyed. It was a really nice battle. When I arrived to Iannone I thought that we would enjoy some laps, minimum. It was a really hard race especially for the mentality and to keep pushing.

"Today the fourth place was the best place that we were able to fight. The reason is difficult to explain. Maybe the change of the temperature but that is not an excuse as it was the same for everybody."

Marquez remains fourth in the championship but is now 33-points behind title leader Rossi.

The race took place with a track temperature of 32 degrees.


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cossiegaz: Honda need Stoner back on an RCV[\blockquote]

Stone would be better than Danny.
The Honda garage would be on fire with Casey and Marc going at it.

RaceRoad: MM isnt himself sinds Yamaha and ducati have equal machinery. [\blockquote]

Ducati have equal machinery! OMG
Have you not noticed the wings on the Duc? Have you not heard the commentators speak on the extra fuel and softer tires on the Duc? There is nothing equal about the Duc and it still can't win. As always the Euro bike gets the rules changed so they can compete.

ProfessorX: ahhh, Bridgestone didn't build a tire for Magic Marc.[\blockquote]
There are no special tires made by Bridgestone for anyone. And in this race the tires were less important than on other tracks. Weren't you the one who didn't even watch the races...?[\blockquote]

The Ducs get special tires because without them they would be further back in the field.

HRC has some work to do Liam94 it's a bigger problem?
The problem is that Honda doesn't have a good development rider, someone who can explain the characteristics of the bike and improve the weaknesses. Marquez is riding the bike and makes the package work for his style in most cases.
I guess Honda went wrong when they thought Marc can ride it, hauls in championships and Yamaha is making up the ground they lost. Yamaha were a lot stronger in the second half of the season last year. If Honda doesn't sort out the problems they will be humiliated after the summer break.