Marc Marquez continued his blistering start to the 2014 MotoGP season, becoming the first rider to win the first four races of the season since since Mick Doohan did it in 1992, as shared by Moto GP's official Twitter account, as he cruised to a win at the GP of Spain in Jerez.
The 21-year-old superstar had never won at Jerez, and in his 100th GP start, he may have put together his most dominant performance yet. He took the lead from Rossi in the second lap and holding a pace over half a second faster than the Italian for the duration of the race.
As shared by Bridgestone MotoGP, the Italian chose to race on harder front tires, slowing him down slightly on the straits, but helping him brake slightly later. As the Italian held on to the second spot for the duration of the race, it only helped Marquez build his lead.
Rossi Pol Espargaro & Redding only riders on hard front rest on medium. All Honda riders but bautista & all Yam riders but smith on med rear— Bridgestone MotoGP (@BSMotoGP) May 4, 2014
Dani Pedrosa was trapped behind his compatriot Jorge Lorenzo for much of the race, overtaking him with seven laps to go on his way to his fourth podium-finish of the season.
However, here was simply no answer for Marquez, who was overtaken by a screaming start from Rossi, but quickly called the Italian back in the second round. Racing against three former world Champions in Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo, the youngster flew away from the trio on the technical Jerez track.
Motorcyclenws.net's Matthew Birt was impressed by what he saw, both from Marquez and Rossi:
Deary me, 8 laps down and this is already a Sunday cruise in the sun for Marquez. Over 3 seconds clear now of Rossi— Matthew Birt (@birtymotogp) May 4, 2014
Great ride by Rossi too. Tried to take fight to Marquez. Hammered Lorenzo on same bike and held off Pedrosa. Still life in old dog— Matthew Birt (@birtymotogp) May 4, 2014
Veteran Rossi also put in an excellent performance on one of his favourite tracks, having won the Jerez GP eight times during his illustrious career.
|7||Aleix ESPARGARO||Forward Yamaha||SPA||30|
|18||Colin EDWARDS||Forward Yamaha||USA||7|
The Italian rode a mistake-free race and will gain on Pedrosa in the GP standings, while opening up a sizable lead on Andrea Dovizioso, who finisheed in fifth, and Lorenzo, who held on to fourth.
Marquez looked off during the practice sessions and qualifications of this race. Despite his sensational start to the season, Jerez was viewed as perhaps the one track the youngster would be at a disadvantage. Following his win in Argentina, the rider himself told gpupdate.net as much:
I took 25 more points today which are very important and I've put together three wins in a row, but we are aware that the season is very long and we are now heading to Jerez where Dani and Jorge are very fast. We will need to be up there with them, fighting for the win.
But rocketing to the pole position during the final qualifier, it already looked like the rest of the pack wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight at Jerez. Marquez's Honda has been firing all season, and combined with his excellent choice of racing line, the final result looked inevitable after just two laps of racing.
Next up on the schedule is the French GP in Le Mans, a very fast track completely unlike Jerez, where riders spend much of their time going full throttle on the long straits. This shouldn't be a disadvantage for Marquez, however, with the Honda bikes looking as dominant as ever.
Marquez grabbed the pole at last year's Grand Prix in his very first attempt on the track, and with momentum firmly in his corner, only a fool would bet against the Spanish world rankings leader making it five wins a row to open the season.
Rossi seems to be rounding into form as the middle stretch of the season is set to arrive, but Le Mans has never been amongst the Italian's favourite tracks. Following his crash there last year, he will not be looking forward to a return trip.
His Yamaha has seemingly lacked in power as well this season, leading to the decision to race the harder front tire at Jerez, and on a fast track like Le Mans, Pedrosa's Honda should be more suited for a good result, which would allow the Spaniard to run away further from Rossi in the race for second place.
Neither will be dreaming of a 2014 World Title, however, with Marquez as close to untouchable as it gets. Whether he makes it five in a row remains to be seen, but following his dominant performance at Jerez, there's no reason to believe he couldn't repeat his heroics at Le Mans.