2014 COTA MotoGP Race Result: Jump To A Conclusion

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Marc Marquez – who else? – won in dominating fashion Sunday, leading from the start and finishing Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas with a gap of more than four seconds at the end.

In reality, Marquez began leading from the outset of the Texas weekend, finishing first in every practice, earning pole position and setting a new lap record in the process. Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa rode to a quiet second place and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso continued his strong COTA showing with the final podium spot, a full 20 seconds behind the 21-year-old race winner.

But the talk of the race was the tenth-place finisher, Jorge Lorenzo. The Yamaha rider badly jumped the start from the second row, so much so that he passed the front-row riders and the start finish line before the rest of the pack set out.

Race marshals immediately forced a ride-through penalty, putting the former world champion into last place by the race's second lap.

At the front of the pack, Marquez and Pedrosa almost immediately opened a gap as Lorenzo pulled into pit lane for his penalty. The battle for third through sixth picked up with Andrea Iannone, Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl, Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi all fighting for position.

Rossi, who made a slow start from the slot on the grid adjacent to Lorenzo, soon began pushing his way through the pack eventually climbing into fourth. But that was short-lived as the nine-time world champion faded at the middle of the race to finish eighth, after being passed by Dovizioso, Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro and Bradl. Cal Crutchlow crashed out nine laps into the contest and reportedly broke his hand.

At the race’s end, it was Bradl who managed fourth, followed by Tech 3 teammates Bradley Smith (5th) and Pol Espargaro (6th). Andrea Iannone, who held third for much of the early race, finished in seventh, just in front of his countryman Rossi (8th). Aleix Espargaro also made up for a bad start to finish ninth.

And Lorenzo -- who crashed out of the lead at the first race in Qatar -- mananged to work way through the pack to finish 10th.

Marquez, with 50 points, now leads the championship by 14 points over second place Pedrosa and 22 points in front of Rossi with the next race in two weeks in Argentina.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time / Diff.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 43'33.430
2 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 4.124
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 20.976
4 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 22.79
5 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 22.963
6 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 26.567
7 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 28.257
8 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 45.519
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 47.605
10 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 49.111
11 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda +1'00.735
12 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda +1'03.954
13 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati +1'07.333
14 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda +1'27.972
15 8 Hector BARBERA Avintia +1'32.376
16 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM +1'32.543
17 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART +1'39.176
18 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia +1'51.962
Not Classified
  45 Scott REDDING Honda 2 Laps
  5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha 4 Laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 9 Laps
  19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 12 Laps
  23 Broc PARKES PBM 13 Laps


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is mentally rattled at this point. I hope he can recover (not talking points), however if not, Yamaha would do well to let him go and promote Aleix next year.

Will be interesting to see what all those rabid Redding fans that are ready to anoint him a factory ride will have to say about this race. I believe on points and head to head who beats who, Hayden will prevail over the course of the year.

Did I see Aleix's bike in parc ferme? Wasn't Dovi first open?

Certainly looks that way. He'd have to be thinking already that barring Marquez doing himself a serious mischief, the title is gone and he may find himself fighting for third. Mind you, Marquez is certainly pushing his luck, that final corner wobble is the kind of stupid mistake that'll cost him dear one day if he doesn't calm down.

Please! Shit track for bikes. Ordinary race. After what was a positive off season and round 1, the cracks are well and truly back

Rossi dropped 3 sek per lap over 2 laps...
Its not "fading". Its the sign of a front tyre that suddenly let go.

...lap speed (as you noted) not ability. It was pretty obvious something was up. His lap speed started to drop at lap 6, continued to drop through lap 12 where it hit 2'08.179. So it was a six-lap decline of four seconds. But if you are absolutely right that he dropped two of those seconds in the middle of that (when he ran wide). But the decline started before that when he dropped from the low 2'04s to the 2'05 and then the 2'06s. He climbed back into the steady 2'07s and then dropped into the 2'08s again on the final two laps.

Think the tyre situation just got wors this weekend. Don't se Bridgestone carrying on after this year, Redding and Rossi having destroyed tyres by mid race and after going back to a tyre that they say wasn't as safe as this year's! Bad badge maybe as both had done long runs? Think I am same as most on here and want close racing, hope round 1 wasn't a 1 off.

... most boring race of the year, massively disappointing to watch. Between Lorenzo basically ruining the entire event at the start (is this club racing?!) and Rossi's front tire giving up, it was a stinker. Ducati's undeniable improvement was about the only bit of entertainment to be had, boo.

FUNNY!!! this ain't club racin'! this is Pressure with a CAPITAL P. I raced WERA and AMA and thought I was under pressure, baloney! that was childs play, these guys are under amazing pressure to perform. Lorenzo just showed he's human. Give him a chance to show what kind of champion he is. I'm pulling for him, anybody else?


I love to see Lorenzo race, he fights hard, but his personality and whinging at the way other riders challenge him (especially when he does the same thing) makes it difficult to like him and pull for him. We do need him back at the front though, otherwise these races could get very boring and predictable.

We need Rossi to step up and be there with him, and Rossi is showing signs of doing just that....I think these upcoming races are going to get interesting, in spite of today's snoozer.

Tire management is going to be crucial to anyone who wants to run up front, same as F1 cars. Don't care what brand it is, though I agree Bridgestone's days may be numbered. A tire manfacturer may be behind as the teams both factory and private learn more about the power and the handling of the current formula of engine power, frame geometry and bike weight. Some teams will get it, some won't and tires will become better if not Bridgestone then with the next supplier. It's the history of motorcycle racing, happened before, will happen again.

PS: George buddy, it ain't your year! chill out, it's not the end of the world, relax, have fun with it and do what you can with it, otherwise you'll not make it for as many years in this sport as your teammate.

Jorge is making mistakes under the pressure of trying to win against a much faster bike (and it must be said, a faster rider). The "clear out and lead from the beginning" strategy is possible when you can actually lap as fast as anyone else, but from the second row it's a big ask. The championship is probably out of his reach already (but never say never). One thing about Jorge: he's a learner. In his first year he had several nasty high sides, but he revised his riding style and came back to win the championship twice. In his early 250 years he came across as a sullen wild child, but he realised he had to work the fans and tried to reinvent himself as a second Rossi with his post-race celebrations. OK, he was never as charming and natural as Rossi, so it all came across as rather forced, but he tried! He'll learn from this too and will give Dani a good run for 2nd.

My thoughts:

Marc Marquez - This kid is just from another planet. Period. Best bike and best rider. Unbeatable combination. If he's lucky with injuries he will get this world tittle, the next one and probably, the one after that.

Pedrosa - Good result for him considering Marc's performance but I'm somehow disappointed with his lack of passion. I would love to see again the 2nd half 2012 Season Pedrosa again. Aggressive and hungry for the victory. Sometimes it seems like he is just aiming for the podium... (and I'm a big Pedrosa fan, I would love to see him fighting and winning the championship, he deserves it).

Dovizioso - Awesome result for him and Ducati. Congrats to Dovi.

Bradl - Love his riding style, but considering Honda's superiority in COTA and his almost factory bike he should have ended at the podium.

Bradley Smith - Nice race, congrats to Bradley. I expect a good season for him this year.

Pol Espargaró - He is doing what he is supposed to, learning day by day and this has been a fantastic race for him. Let's see what happens in the next races.

Not too much to comment about the rest of the guys. Yamaha needs to work something out quickly, Rossi needs to recover his confidence on the bike and Lorenzo needs to calm down. Marc's performance is psicologically killing him.

From the Marquez and Honda dominance here last year today's result was predictable for the front two, so no surprises there, except for Marc's final corner drama which could have cost him dearly. I'm happy for Ducati and Dovi that Gigi's changes have gained big improvements -- good for them!

Lorenzo is showing some understandable strain given the circumstances. Interesting seeing a photo of him speaking with Wayne Rainey, another multi-time World Champ that made trademark getaway starts. Little doubt that may have caused Jorge try a bit too hard, today. What other chance did he have of getting ahead of Marquez? He's a fighter and will continue to give it everything he's got. For the gentleman who asked if anyone else is pulling for Jorge, count me in. It's our best hope for an interesting title chase.

I'd love for Valentino to prove me wrong on that last point, however. If Dani truly deserved a World Championship, he'd have won one -- more than one, actually -- by now.

Finally, as a longtime Nicky Hayden fan (perhaps partially explaining my low opinion of Pedrosa) it's painful to see how slow a bike Honda has put under he and Scott Redding -- who I'm also a huge fan of. I know how tired Nicky is of hearing that he's "the top Ducati" in years past and now "the top RSV1000R." He had a great comeback a couple years back: "Well, you could say I'm the top rider from Kentucky, too, but that ain't gonna make me feel any better."

At Qatar, I thought Scott rode brilliantly to beat Nicky. Nicky said post-race that he'd burned up his tires early trying to catch the next group, and I never doubt what Nicky says. I have no doubt that Scott will justifiably say the same about today. Even if Nicky doesn't care to hear it, I do take some measure of pleasure in watching the race between the two top RSV1000Rs with these two talented racers battling. The fact that Redding is battling with the 2006 World Champ in his first year on a MotoGP should impress everyone outside of England as well. I've been watching him ride the wheels off Moto2 bikes to overcome his weight and aerodynamic disadvantages so I'm not surprised he's showing the speed he does now.

It's just hard to imagine that unless someone is already emotionally involved with watching Hayden or Redding, that what they're wrestling out of their slow-accelerating Honda production bikes is catching anyone else's attention. And that's a pity.

"I know how tired Nicky is of hearing that he's "the top Ducati" in years past"

When was that? I don't recall him being faster than any of his team mates.

Stoner, Rossi, Dovi - all finished above Nicky in the championship every time. He hasn't beaten his team mate except for his Championship year and the year after that he was third fastest Honda.

Nicky's only out there because he has fans like you, if you were running a team you'd never hire him as lead rider on results if you're honest with yourself.

Although what took Jorge out of contention today was himself, even if he had not made the error on the start, he probably could only have hoped for third. Honda has a clear advantage and shows no indications of that changing any time soon. Though he talks of loyalty to Yamaha and a desire to finish his career with them, he certainly will entertain offers from Honda before he signs a contract extension. However, he earns considerably more than Dani Pedrosa. Though Dani will never bring a championship to Honda, he remains a very consistant podium finisher. This provides two things. He protects Marc and he helps win the constructors championship. Honda may very well be reconsidering their interest in Jorge. He may have no choice but to re-sign with Yamaha. He won't go to Ducati and he won't waste two years developing the Suzuki. He's stuck at Yamaha and can only hope they get it all back on track.

This provides two things. He protects Marc and he helps win the constructors championship.

Only the highest placed finisher of each marque contributes to the constructors championship, so if Marc always finishes ahead of Dani then Dani contributes zero to Honda's constructors championship.
If you get a MM, DP, JL, VR, AD, CC finishing order then Honda will get 25, Yamaha 20 and Ducati 16.
If you get DP, VR, CC, AD, JL, MM finishing order the manufacturers points will be exactly the same.

He would however contribute to Repsol Honda's teams championship points.

What a "strong-but-not-quite-strong-enough" team mate does do though is to hopefully take points for the Riders Championship off the rival brands riders. Sadly for Dani, as long as MM stays healthy I think that might be his main purpose until he retires or ends up on less competitive machinery.

Has anyone considered that maybe Lorenzo jumped the start so bad because he knew the only chance he had was to get in front of Marquez and try to rattle him? He took a chance and finished not far from where he was during practice. I don't see it so much as a mental mistake but just that he's going for it and it's a win it or bin it type of year. That's the only chance anyone not on a factory Honda has. With the rule changes hopefully next year will be different.

I'm sure Jorge just up and blew it today, oh well, it's surprising it doesn't happen more often.
But if a rider were to (with a plan) launch as soon as the red lights lit up (knowing he would incur a ride through penalty, how far ahead could he get before the red lights went out and the other riders launched?
How long does it take to do a ride through?
He would get the time the lights were red before the lights would go out and the other riders could follow and he'd have clear track ahead.
Could he pull enough lead to end up out from after his ride through?

You'd need like 40s+ at most tracks to transit pit lane and exit again. If the rider simply went flat stick from the warm up lap and didn't stop to form up on the grid at all it would certainly be possible to still lead after a pit lane ride-through but surely you'd be black flagged somehow or other?
On a normal jump start after at least vaguely forming up on the grid it's surely not possible.

Lorenzo didn't gain much from his leave incredibly early, oops what have I done, go again start. His intial advantage was largely gone by the end of the lap.
I was amazed no one followed him and we didn't have multiple early launches, probably only avoided because Lorenzo went so early.
How early earns you a disqualification?

As David said in his other post. Lorenzo jumped because the lights went from off to red. Look at the replay on motogp.com, it is clear the change in state triggered the launch reflex in Jorge. He is not the worst or the first in this matter.