MotoGP: Marc Marquez continues perfect form

MotoGP raider Marc Marquez of Spain celebrates his victory after wining the Spain's Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Jerez race track in southern Spain. Photo / AP
MotoGP raider Marc Marquez of Spain celebrates his victory after wining the Spain's Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Jerez race track in southern Spain. Photo / AP

World champion Marc Marquez continued his perfect start to the season by winning the Spanish MotoGP for the first time at Jerez on Sunday.

The 21-year-old won his 36th Grand Prix in just his 100th race with seven-time world MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi second on a Yamaha, just ahead of Marquez's compatriot and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Marquez, who had won all three previous Grand Prix this season, in Qatar, Texas and Argentina, extended his world championship lead over Pedrosa to 28 points.

He became the first rider since Australian Mick Doohan in 1992 to win the first four races of the year.

"I'm really happy, it's a different kind of victory. I struggled a little bit this weekend and the level is so high with Pedrosa, Jorge and Valentino, who are all very strong," said Marquez, who won in a time of 1min 39.841sec.

"In the beginning I was able to open a gap and push. I know that Dani and Valentino are so strong at the end of the race and with new tyres I felt better than on old tyres so I pushed very hard at the start."

Marquez said he was reluctant to predict a fifth successive victory when the championship moves to Le Mans in France on May 18.

"Le Mans is a weekend with a big question mark over the weather. We finished third there in the wet last year and we feel strong in the dry. But for the moment we'll enjoy this victory and get ready to test tomorrow," said the Spaniard.

Marquez had started on pole and was in a class of his own all afternoon in the blistering Andalusian heat.

Valentino Rossi of Italy, left, celebrates his second position next to Marc Marquez of Spain, on the podium of the Spainish Motorcycle Grand Prix. Photo / AP
Valentino Rossi of Italy, left, celebrates his second position next to Marc Marquez of Spain, on the podium of the Spainish Motorcycle Grand Prix. Photo / AP

By the 12th lap he had already built up a four-second lead and after that he merely managed his advantage comfortably until the end of the race.

Behind him there was a great battle brewing between Rossi, who took his second podium of the year, and Pedrosa.

Rossi had to use all his 35 years of experience to hold off the charging Pedrosa, a twice former winner in Jerez, on the final corner with the pair going neck and neck.

"I'm very, very happy because Jerez is one of my favourite circuits and one of my favourite weekends because of the crowds around the track," said Rossi, who was 1.5sec behind Marquez.

"Since 2010 I have not been on the podium here, so it's great to be back."

Pedrosa passed Lorenzo on lap 20 of the 27-lap race, but was unable to overtake Rossi despite several attempts.

"It was a very hard race from the beginning, I couldn't control the bike very well as I had the front end closing. I couldn't push and almost crashed twice. I went for a rhythm I knew I could handle," said Pedrosa.

Rossi's Yamaha teammate, the twice world champion Jorge Lorenzo, had a disappointing afternoon, coming home fourth more than eight seconds behind Marquez in his 200th GP and on his 27th birthday.

-AAP

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