LE MANS. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) cruised to victory at the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France to claim Honda’s 300th premier class victory, the Championship leader beating Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci as the Italians take a double Desmosedici podium in France.
Miller held off Rossi by a tenth to earn a solid fourth in France, ‘The Doctor’ couldn’t quite keep tabs on the podium battle in fifth. It was a best result of the season for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Pol Espargaro, the Spaniard had looked strong all weekend and he proved it in the race, a P6 for him went down very well with the Austrian factory - something for them to build on for sure. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took seventh to finish just over a second clear of his teammate and home hero Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman made a bad start and sat outside the points in the early stages, but some great race pace from the mid-point onwards means fast Fabio takes home a very respectable top ten from France.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) lost out to Quartararo in the latter stages, the British rider finished ninth. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins loses out in the title race after a P10 finish, a P19 start really hampering the Spaniard’s French GP as he slips from second to third in the standings. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) earns his best Honda result in 11th, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), home favourite Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and the two Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s of Hafizh Syahrin – the Malaysian’s first points of the season – and Miguel Oliveira completed the points. Oliveira being handed a penalty that dropped him below Syahrin in the standings.
His twelfth-place finish at Le Mans gives Aleix Espargaró important points, despite the disappointment of not finishing in the top ten. In the race, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider had to deal with grip that was not enough to keep the pace of the leaders on a track like the stop-and-go French circuit. The low temperatures also kept him from being incisive, particularly in the second half of the race, and Aleix had to contain the damage, bringing home four championship points in spite of a penalty levied against him for cutting a chicane.
Aleix Espargaró: P12
"Taking points home is always positive, but I cannot be satisfied. I was unable to follow the leaders, especially because of the lack of grip that is so important on a track with these characteristics. There was really only one possible tyre choice with these low temperatures. In fact, we were all in the same conditions. Now we need to work hard to make progress. Our rivals have improved and it is getting harder and harder to finish in the top ten."