A WET and wild French MotoGP produced more magic and yes, yet another different winner – the 7th in the 10 rounds run so far.

Italy’s Danilo Petrucci, on a Ducati, took the chequered flag at the end of 27 laps of the 4.1km Bugatti circuit within the Le Mans complex to score his first win of the 2020 season and the second of his career.

He led home Spaniards Alex Marquez (Honda) and KTM’s Pol Espargaro.

The start was delayed because of very wet conditions and when it got underway Australia’s Jack Miller, who started from second of the grid on his Pramac Ducati, shot to the lead.

However, Petrucci soon found a way past, as did teammate Andrea Dovisioso, with Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha 4th — but he came under pressure from the pack as he struggled to cope with adverse weather in what was officially declared a Wet Race.

Also in in his first wet MotoGP race was South Africa’s Brad Binder (KTM) who won the Czech GP in August and Alex Marquez.

Championship leader Quartararo finished 9th, Binder 12th, but Marquez was quite at home skating around at blinding speed to grab 2nd.

Valentino Rossi took a tumble at the first corner, but Suzuki’s Alex Rins put in a spectacular run, carving through the field to catch the leaders and was on the tail of Miller when the intensity of their battle caused them to both miss their braking point.

Next, Miller’s bike suffered engine failure, and Rins fell in the chicane.

Fellow Spaniard Joan Mir had a quite amazing mishap during the qualifying session, coming off his Suzuki Ecstar in a corner at high speed.

The bike went one way, but Mir slid along gracefully  and somehow became upright the moment his feet touched the gravel and was able to break into a sprint and stay on his feet.

It’s worth a watch on YouTube.

 

Officials said it was the most miraculous recovery from a crash they’d ever seen.

Others to come down in the wet conditions included Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha),  Cal Crutchlow (Honda), Aprilia’s Bradley Smith and Avintia’s Tito Rabat. 

In the closing laps Petrucci’s lead came down to 1.2s, but Dovizioso started to suffer from a lack of rear grip and was unable to stop Alex Marquez coming through.

So what had looked like a probable podium for three Ducatis, ended up as Ducati, Honda, KTM, making it much more interesting. 

Rookie Marquez gave Honda its first podium of the 2020 season.

He did remarkably well, having started from 18th on the grid, while Pol Espargaro completed the rostrum on the KTM after pipping Dovizioso to the flag.

Fifth was Johann Zarco on the Avintia Ducati, ahead of Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira.

Takaaki Nakagami was 7th on the LCR Honda head of factory RC213V rider Stefan Bradl, while Quartararo fended off Maverick Vinales and Mir on the last lap to salvage 9th.

Quartararo still kept his championship lead, 10 points ahead of Mir, with Dovizioso 18 points adrift and just one above Vinales.

Quartararo, Brad Binder, Andrea Dovizioso, Miguel Oliveira, Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Viñales have all had wins this season.

Only Quartararo has managed to do that more than once.

The first of the back-to-back Aragon rounds takes place next weekend.

Results

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 142.1 45’54.736
2 20 73 Alex MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 142.1 +1.273
3 16 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 142.1 +1.711
4 13 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 141.9 +3.911
5 11 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Esponsorama Racing Ducati 141.9 +4.310
6 10 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 141.9 +4.466
7 9 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 141.8 +5.921
8 8 6 Stefan BRADL GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 141.3 +15.597
9 7 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 141.3 +16.687
10 6 12 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 141.3 +16.895
11 5 36 Joan MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 141.3 +16.980
12 4 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 140.8 +27.321
13 3 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 140.4 +33.351
14 2 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 140.2 +39.176
15 1 27 Iker LECUONA SPA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 139.6 +51.087
42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 138.4 +1’14.190
Not Classified
43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 139.9 7 Laps
21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 136.7 8 Laps
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 141.0 9 Laps
53 Tito RABAT SPA Esponsorama Racing Ducati 133.5 12 Laps
38 Bradley SMITH GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 138.4 18 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0 Lap

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.
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