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.
|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|
|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|
CHECKOUT: Better off Red — Vespa (Red)
CHECKOUT: BMW’s first M bike breaks cover