Monster Energy Grand Prix de France: Race round-up – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) produced another masterclass at Le Mans to win from pole again, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) also on the podium.
Marquez produced a fantastic fightback after an early mistake to lead by a second on lap 16 having been 10th on lap one. Rossi demonstrated his competitiveness again to lead for several laps in the first half of the race but ultimately could not hold off the rampant Marquez.
Whilst Rossi achieved his tenth premier class podium at Le Mans and his 150th in the top category, Marquez became the first rider to win five successive premier class races from pole since Mick Doohan in 1997.
Meanwhile, it was Bautista’s first podium since 2012 and a great reward for the determination he has shown since his three DNFs at the start of the season.
An excellent ride from rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) saw him hold off Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) for fourth. Pedrosa appeared to be riding in significant discomfort after recent arm pump surgery.
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished three seconds behind Pedrosa in the unfamiliar territory of sixth for the 2010 and 2012 MotoGP World Champion.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) recovered from his recent arm operation for seventh, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) also in the top ten.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) crashed on the first lap after contact with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), only for the Italian to go down shortly afterwards. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was also an early crasher, though none of those three were seriously affected by the incidents.
Victory in the Moto2™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France race was clinched by Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) at Le Mans, with Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) and Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) following the Finn across the finish line.
Kallio rode calmly from fourth on the grid, hunting down provisional race leader Corsi for the victory and taking over at the front with eight laps to go. Corsi eventually finished a second behind the winner, holding off a late challenge from championship leader Rabat – who had to settle for third.
Young Spanish rookies Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) and Luis Salom (Pons HP 40) were both in the podium chase as they gathered more Moto2 experience, eventually finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Another 2014 intermediate class debutant Jonas Folger (AGR Team) was sixth, having started on pole.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Sam Lowes (Speed Up) and Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) were top ten finishers.
Axel Pons (AGR Team), Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2), Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru Team JiR Webike), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) were all crashers, whilst home riders Louis Rossi (SAG Team) and Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) also crashed in front of the home fans.
Ricard Cardus (Tech 3) and Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) crashed out together early on, with Pasini unhappy with Cardus’ role in the accident.
In perfect conditions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took victory in another exciting Moto3™ contest, with Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) joining him on the Le Mans podium.
Another brilliant race saw eight riders in podium contention on the last lap with Miller holding off a challenge from pole man Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) in the final stages to secure his third win of the year.
Rins led by almost two seconds at one point but was eventually pulled back for second, with Viñales riding bravely to achieve his first ever Grand Prix podium result.
Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) were both in the top five, both within 0.5s of the podium.
Vazquez had also led the race at various points and was unhappy to finish sixth when a first ever victory looked possible.
Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3), John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG), Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) completed the top ten.
Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3), Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Jules Danilo (Ambrogio Racing) and Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) all crashed out in the early laps, whilst there were also DNFs for Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo).
The winner of the last two rounds Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) retired with electronics issues towards the end of the race.