Spaniard Marc Marquez became the first rider since Italian great Giacomo Agostini in 1972 to win the first five races of the season as he eased to victory in the French MotoGP at Le Mans yesterday.
The Honda rider — who also emulated Australia Mick Doohan in winning the five straight races from pole — recovered from a poor start to take control with 16 laps remaining and came home ahead of Italian great Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), while Alvaro Bautista of Spain was third on a Honda Gresini.
Victory on Sunday made the reigning world champion the youngest ever rider to win five successive races in the premier class, taking the record from late Englishman Mike Hailwood, who was 22 years and 160 days old when he won five successive races in the 500cc class in 1962.
Marquez got overwhelmed at the start of the race as Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, Rossi and Pol Espargaro swept past him and his efforts to regain his position were thwarted as he clipped Lorenzo’s back wheel and did brilliantly not to go down.
Rossi, Espargaro and Bradl passed Dovizioso with 23 laps remaining, while Marquez continued his fight back by overtaking Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo with 22 laps to go to move into fifth.
He was fourth a lap later and going away from the stands with 19 laps remaining, he overtook Bradl and set off after Espargaro with Rossi still leading, while Dovizioso’s electric start had petered out completely as he dropped to 10th.
Marquez breezed past Espargaro the following lap and with 16 laps from the finish the young Spaniard went past the Italian as Rossi went too wide on a corner and Marquez took over.
Behind the front two, Alvaro Bautista was surging up the field and was turning the pressure on Espargaro for third place, which he eventually secured, while Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa produced a late charge passing Lorenzo to claim fifth.