The Italian Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Desmosedici GP20) got this Sunday its first victory of the season by winning the MotoGP French Grand Prix It was held at the legendary Le Mans circuit, where the Spanish Alex Márquez (Repsol Honda RC 213 V) achieved his first podium as a rookie in the category, ahead of Pol Espargaró (KTM RC 16).
The French Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1) had to settle for the final ninth position, although it maintains the lead in the provisional world championship by finishing ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki GSX RR), with 115 points, ten more than the Spanish, eighteen over the Italian Andrea Dovizioso, and nineteen over Maverick Viñales, who finished tenth.
First hit of the MotoGP test when it began to rain in some points of the circuit when all the pilots were already in the starting formation, which caused that just when the exit protocol was carried out, in the final five minutes, the red flag appeared on the track and a new phase of the same when considering Race Direction the same as wet conditions.
This new condition shortened the distance from the competition by one lap and forced all teams to work piecemeal to change the settings of the bikes from dry to wet, in addition to establishing the pilots freedom to go into their boxes to change bikes when they deem appropriate.
In conditions very different from those in which the official classification was held, the race started, in which two authentic water specialists such as the Australian Jack Miller (Ducati Desmosedici GP20) and the British Cal Crutchlow (Honda RC 213 V) did not disappoint and immediately took the lead, chased by another specialist such as the Italian Petrucci.
The world leader and favorite, the Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1) was not too surprised in those chaotic initial moments, in which the test already lost one of its main protagonists, the Italian Valentino Rossi, who was went to the ground in turn three and in the mishap the Spanish Viñales (Yamaha YZR M 1), Joan Mir (Suzuki GSX RR) y Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia RS-GP), they had to go off the track to avoid it.
Already in the second lap Petrucci commanded the race chased by his own teammate Dovizioso and Miller, who opened a small gap over the chasing group, formed by Espargaró (KTM RC 16), Rins (Suzuki GSX RR) and Quartararo, who did not he wanted to take excessive risks, among others.
Further back, the Spanish Alex Márquez (Repsol Honda RC 213 V) and the Portuguese were recovering positions Miguel Oliveira (KTM RC 16), who reached Quartararo and surpassed it to place behind the British Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith (Aprilia RS-GP), who were with Pol Espargaró, while Alex Rins went forward to try to hunt down the Ducati trio of Petrucci, Dovizioso and Miller.
Rins, at a fast lap pace, was gradually hunting down the escapees, who on the seventh lap had a little more than two seconds ahead, although the Spaniard had four tenths of a second left per lap and they were still ahead nineteen turns.
Little by little Fabio Quartararo, the great favorite to win in the dry, was deflating and losing positions and already before the halfway point of the race, scheduled for twenty-six laps, was in a very late eleventh position, some places ahead of Joan Mir, which meant that the World Cup qualification could be “tightened” much more in the fight for the title.
Slowly but inexorably Rins approached the leading trio, with whom he linked up on the thirteenth lap, but behind him he also jumped to hunt the escapees Pol Espargaró.
Rins tried on several occasions to overtake Miller, third in the group, but on all occasions the Australian gave him back the overtake while Pol Espargaró was getting closer and closer from behind. Alex MarquezFrom behind, he starred in two almost consecutive fast laps that allowed him to hunt down the leading group, which was less than two seconds away and still with ten laps ahead.
Six laps from the end Alex Rins tried a very risky action on Miller and Dovizioso that the Australian reproached him and shortly after he overtook him again but practically to say goodbye shortly after to the race with mechanical problems and later, in turn three of the next round, go on the floor Alex Rins, which left Petrucci as a solo leader, with Dovizioso second and a plethora of Alex Márquez third.
The Repsol Honda rider had staged a spectacular comeback to the podium and still had options to fight for victory, although Petrucci had gained a few meters ahead with five laps remaining.
With less than three laps to go, Alex Márquez managed to overtake Andrea Dovizioso to place second and try to catch up with Danilo Petrucci, a very complicated objective in the few kilometers that remained to be completed.
Petrucci claimed his first victory of the season and Alex Márquez his first MotoGP podium, with Pol Espargaró third, while Maverick Viñales finished in a discreet tenth position, ahead of Joan Mir and Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia RS-GP) fourteenth , e Iker Lecuona (KTM RC 16) and Alex Rins, below.