|Marc Marquez wins again|
Marc Marquez reeled off his third win on the bounce in the French MotoGP on Sunday as home favorite and pole sitter Johann Zarco crashed out. Marquez took his 38th win in the top category unchallenged from Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Pramac) with Italian veteran Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) in third. He now is tied with Casey Stoner for most all-time wins, and one ahead of Mike Hailwood
The French fairytale was unfortunately not to be for Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the home hero crashed out at Turn 8, on lap eight, after re-passing Marquez for second. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was another rider to crash, falling out of contention on lap one at la Chapelle after making a good start. Then, Championship contender Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) made a rare error at the same corner four laps later. The number 04 had just passed teammate Jorge Lorenzo – who once again got a magnificent start – for the lead, with the Ducati man leaving with no points for the second consecutive race. All three were ok, but it proved to be another pivotal race in the Championship.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo held firm at the front, Marquez was close for company with Petrucci, Rossi and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) chasing them both. On lap ten though, the number 93 made his move on Lorenzo, before Petrucci followed the Honda rider through a lap later. Rossi and Miller soon carved their way past the five-time World Champion, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) waiting in the wings.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The gap between Marquez, Petrucci, Rossi and Miller stayed consistent, with all four exchanging quickest laps. That was until the six-time World Champion pulled the pin on lap 16, setting the fastest lap of the race to bridge to gap to a second over the chasing GP18. From there, Marquez was able to stretch the gap tenth by tenth, with Petrucci also keeping the nine-time World Champion at bay. Pedrosa was later able to pass Lorenzo for fifth, with the Ducati rider having to settle for sixth.
Further down the order, after failing to get the start he was looking for, last year’s winner Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made his way back up to seventh after being outside the top ten for the first half of the race. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had a great ride, holding onto eighth until the last lap to earn his best result of the season. Passing him on the last lap was walking wounded Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), who had a magnificent ride battling to P8 from 13th on the grid.
|Marquez scraps the asphalt as he charges to victory|
It was a quiet but important race for Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) after three DNF’s this season, the Spaniard battled with Vinales and Espargaro throughout the race, eventually rounding out the top ten. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) picked up another solid result in P11, with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) eventually getting the better of Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) to finish as top rookie.
Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) and Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) were both early fallers, with Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) also crashing out – riders ok.
In the end, there was no stopping Marquez as he claimed his third successive victory on a track that he hasn’t won at since 2014. The Spaniard extends his Championship lead to 36 points, with Mugello up next. The Italians will be out in force to try and stop the Marquez’ Spanish armada – can his momentum be stalled?
I’m particularly happy with this win here in Le Mans, as it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us! Today I was the only one on a hard rear tire, and that made my approach to the race a bit different because I knew it would take a little more time to reach the right temperature. But during the warm-up, I had the opportunity to verify that once the tire was ready, it was very constant, and I was able to keep a very good rhythm. To be honest, things were a bit challenging at the beginning of the race: Zarco touched me in the second corner and I went a bit wide, then Iannone crashed and nearly hit me, so I lost some more positions. I decided to cool down for a while. When I saw that Dovi and Johann were out, my approach to the race again changed a bit. At a certain point, I had one big moment in turn three, where I had already crashed in FP3, which is why I was being extremely careful there; I think that helped me to avoid a crash in that moment. I’m currently experiencing a very ‘sweet’ period with my bike, and when you’ve got that kind of feeling, you also work better; then you ride better, and the bike works better. Things don't exactly become easier when you get into this zone, but they’re more ‘natural.’ Of course it’s a very long season, and not all the races will be the same, so we’ll just try and keep the momentum.
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||41'49.773|
|2||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||+2.310|
|3||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+5.350|
|4||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Alma Pramac Racing||Ducati||+6.314|
|5||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+7.419|
|6||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+10.355|
|7||25||Maverick VIÂ¥ALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+23.758|
|8||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+25.795|
|9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+26.206|
|10||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+27.937|
|11||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+32.304|
|12||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAL||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+34.962|
|13||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||+37.881|
|14||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+38.299|
|15||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+41.986|
|16||12||Thomas LUTHI||SWI||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||+45.260|
|17||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||+56.872|
|18||10||Xavier SIMEON||BEL||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+1'12.117|
|19||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||17 Laps|
|20||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||17 Laps|
|21||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||19 Laps|
|22||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||23 Laps|
|23||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Angel Nieto Team||Ducati||26 Laps|
|24||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||0 Lap|