2022 Le Mans MotoGP Race Result: Heartache and Hattricks

The full capacity crowd deserved better than the moody forecast for race day and the weather gods clearly agreed, as premier class riders were greeted by clear blue skies, hot tarmac and can-can dancers. However, the dream French victory didn’t quite go to plan and it was mostly an Italian affair, with Enea Bastianini taking his third victory of the season after pressuring poleman Pecco Bagnaia into a big mistake and cruising unchallenged to the chequered flag. Jack Miller was the happy recipient of a second place inheritance, while Aleix Espargaro caused some heartbreak as he denied the home favourite a place on the podium.

Miller was the star at the start of the 27-lap race, getting the holeshot over teammate Bagnaia and with Bastianini straight into the mix to separate the two factory Ducatis. The two Suzukis were hot on their tail as well, while front-row starter Espargaro dropped down to sixth over a chaotic opening lap. Fabio Quartararo made a pretty poor start on home soil, finding himself challenged by the Hondas of Marc Marquez and Takaki Nakagami in the early battle for seventh, with Johann Zarco waiting to pounce too.

Alex Rins was keeping up with the fast-starting Ducatis early on but maybe not as comfortably as it first seemed, the Spaniard losing control around turn two and taking a familiar trip through the gravel at the Dunlop chicane, crashing as he rejoined the track at turn four. He thankfully avoided any collision and the incident left the Bologna bullets with a second's advantage at the front. The poleman soon attacked his teammate at turn seven, retaking control of proceedings on lap four while Bastianini pushed to catch up with his colleagues, bringing Joan Mir with him but some mistakes losing Espargaro a second on the duo. In the time it took Quartararo to find a way past Marquez, the Frenchman dropped three seconds behind the leader, but as soon as he got some breathing room from the Hondas, he picked up the pace and reeled in Espargaro by lap six, who in turn was catching up with Mir once again.

By lap 10, the podium battle became an all-Ducati affair once more, Bagnaia, Miller and Bastianini starting to drop Mir from their exclusive group and the Suzuki man had a feisty Aprilia and Yamaha on his tail. Marquez was circulating in a rather lonely seventh position, over two and a half seconds behind the reigning world champion and with Zarco trying to bridge a one second gap to the Honda headliner. The Frenchman turned the timing screens red and was close enough to Marquez for a piggyback only a couple laps later.

Meanwhile, Bastianini had altered the order at the front slightly, attacking Miller at Garage Vert on lap 12, leaving Bagnaia without his wingman. Miller immediately dropped a second behind the duo and was about to come under threat from the trio behind but after doing the hard work in closing the gap, Mir crashed out of fourth at the final corner, as the race was entering its second half. Espargaro and Quartararo were left to reel in Miller, while Zarco was still struggling to find a way past Marquez in the fight for sixth place. The Frenchman’s mission was eventually simplified by the Spaniard running wide at La Chapelle with 11 laps remaining.

Back at the front, Bastianini was comfortably keeping Bagnaia company without showing any intentions until seven laps were left, when he made a first approach at the Dunlop Chicane and then sealed the deal at Garage Vert, helped by Bagnaia running well wide. Under pressure to recover the second he lost on his colleague, Bagnaia followed it up with a crash at the penultimate corner of the same lap.

With Bastianini running away at the front and showing impeccable pace all the way to the chequered flag, Miller inherited second, just outside of striking distance of Espargaro. Although the gap between them was just one second at the time, the Spaniard was focusing on the threat from behind, where Quartararo suddenly saw an opportunity for a podium on home soil. Although the Frenchman started the final lap only one tenth of a second behind Espargaro, he couldn’t find a way past the Aprilia man and had to settle for fourth. Behind the podium battle, Zarco, Marquez and Nakagami were cruising to the finish line with sizeable gaps around them, only Brad Binder enjoying some company in the battle for eight, until teammate Miguel Oliveira crashed out at turn four with three laps left. Taking avoiding action in the incident lost Pol Espargaro a top 10 position to the benefit of Luca Marini and Maverick Viñales.

The battle on track extended to the world championship standings, where Espargaro reduced Quartararo’s advantage to four points, with Bastianini only eight points back. Rins dropped to a 33-point deficit, while Bagnaia is seventh, with 46 points to recover.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 41:34.6130
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 2.718
3 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 4.182
4 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 4.288
5 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 11.139
6 93 Marc Marquez Honda 15.155
7 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 16.680
8 33 Brad Binder KTM 18.459
9 10 Luca Marini Ducati 20.541
10 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 21.486
11 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 22.707
12 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 23.408
13 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 26.432
14 73 Alex Marquez Honda 28.710
15 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 29.433
16 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 38.149
17 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 59.748
Not Classified
  63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 30:48.3980
  25 Raul Fernandez KTM 09:29.9300
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 37:14.7620
  87 Remy Gardner KTM 04:47.6290
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki 20:04.9680
  42 Alex Rins Suzuki 08:40.9520
  89 Jorge Martin Ducati 24:52.1280
Round Number: 
7
2022
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Comments

Good race from Elias, has to be said but what the hell was Nakano doing ? Nice move from Marquez end of lap 1, sharp, clean...Fabio also, T3 lap 1. Edwards did ok I guess. Hard luck for Stoner and Guintoli. Thank the heavens for Bastianini.

The Mole riding around in a lonely 8th all race, as is tradition.

It's Jake that's depressing me at the moment. Hope he gets some luck and gets past this. At the moment it's like the sun rising...happens every day.

It is easy to pile on when someone fails, and of course hindsight is 20:20. That said, I have never been sold on Pecco, and today's performance does nothing to change that opinion.

In the past 2nds may have been good enough to win titles. I hope for Fabio's sake that in this day and age, 4ths are good enough. 

When was the last time Le Mans hosted a warm dry race? Before the ride-height devices were introduced, during which aero development has continued. Bagnaia changing to the medium front just before the race? Uh-oh... was the feeling. Well, the Beast was able to survive with the medium front. Miller stuck with the soft. Riders mentioned a lot of chatter through T1. Wings doing weird things? A few riders had to bail on T1 and take to the gravel at 300 kph this year. That's new. Seems Michelin, through no fault of their own, have been unable to match the pace of front tire development with the advancement of the stresses put on the front through the wings and shapeshifters. Not sure if there were more passes or crashes in the top six during the race. Is this what you want Motogp? Warmer than expected race-time temp caused the dreaded front tire pressure malady to rear its ugly head? That would be in contradiction to what Quartararo and mentioned yesterday. Maybe the ride-height gizmos should be axed and a maximum limit be placed on the wing's downforce. But how would race direction determine a value? Anyway, Aleix was able to keep Quartararo behind him to the flag. What a stellar year so far. Good job, Miller, in bringing the bike home in second. And Bastianini? Perfect. Poignant end to Suzuki's race after the crap news two weeks ago. 

Story may change in two weeks time. Or not...

Ban wings, hire a guy (or girl) with a degree in aero engineering, give them an electric hacksaw. The teams will learn fast, or expensive trinkets will litter the pitlane.

I do not know the solution, I do not know anything. But from the comments from the riders, and from what I have been seeing on the screen, it's starting to smell like F1. 

Yeah. Hard to say. I sometimes feel that this is the natural reaction to being served a burnt apple pie after having the finest chocolate cheesecake for a long time. They'll never kill off aero for downforce, I think best they can do is squeeze it so hard that it represents a small benefit. Therefore, hopefully it doesn't hurt much when it's disturbed. Strange thing for some bikes though. I mean you could serve a three course meal on the Aprilia wing and have ample room to store the cutlery and plates inside of the Ducati. I wonder how awful the bike would be if you took them off.

I don't want to be mean to Ducati but here's an issue...Suzuki leave -2. The mood shifts to ban wings. Ducati the innovators, who have been attacked previously over their innovations might not be happy about it. Understandable. Would Ducati use their presence on the grid to resist such a move with the threat of leaving completely or the threat of reducing support down to one satellite team only ? Minus two is not so bad, hardly noticed. Add to that minus 4 Ducati and where would the teams get their bikes ? Only Aprilia is not currently supplying a satellite team. That's an implication which would carry some weight.

I'm hoping for choc cheesecake in Mugello.

I wasn't trying to say that Ducati are or will do anything. I just thought that they could. Timing is everything. Now is not a good time to upset any of the manufacturers.

MotoGP is on a slippery slope.... it is getting boring, even processional, riders cannot follow closer enough with all the aero & shite on the bike these days... it is making me remember the dark days of 800s... even worse FORMULA ONE!!!!

Carmelo & his fixers better get cracking fast because this is truly getting out of hand... The sport once loved for it's mystic cocktail of smelly race fuel & nutters risking their lives to overtake is rapidly becoming a sport that only holds one mystique how to ride without crashing.... every time anyone pushed they crashed or had huge moments (Rins run off led to his crash.)

Until the crashes the greatest rider of his generation was loitering around in the lower reaches of the top 10.... The only way he managed to finish sixth was because of all the crashes... The greatest MotoGP rider of the last decade only managed sixth, a whole fifteen seconds off the winner... Let that sink in, he was only 3 seconds ahead of Binder's last remaining KTM (aka the Mole as some people seem to call him,) a KTM with a missing left handle bar moustache.

The pocket rocket winner won, because he was the fastest rider on Sunday in race conditions... surprise... but also because he is able to ride the Duke in a way that nobody else can replicate... He brakes upright, barely trail brakes when the other Duke riders look at his data they shake their heads in disbelief!

More and more i admire Bastianinis racecraft, cool as f*** and hunting down the frontrunners towards the finish. As his crewchief puts it in a TV statement ... it's like he's finding an additional gear over the last ten laps ...

Some criticize his ups and downs over the last few races , but it's his second season in GP and by now - with his ability to nurture rubbers - it looks like he's a serious contender in the championship and that underdog stance would be a great driver to generate interest.

I even think Bagnaia hasn't to be too disappointed, seven races are done and 14 ... or so .. are to come and with the performance that the Duc can now deliver they can do a frontrow lockout on at least 10 occasions.

If I wanna watch racers stuck behind unable to overtake, I'd watch formula 1. Hope MotoGP realises this before it's too late. The world in general is not flush with money and if the show is bad, people will tune off and Suzuki won't be the last to leave. These aero and ride height devices have to go. Or you can turn this into Formula 1 and see where that gets you. Time for Dorna to have the same talk with Ducati that they had with Honda last decade. 

Wow, if Heineken did knee jerk reactions they still wouldn’t beat some of these efforts! Aero has been a thing since the 50s (and before) and it’s here to stay, along with many more modern innovations. I found todays race just as fascinating and entertaining as previous rounds in this modern era.

Today was more about circuit constraints, cambers and bumps, than aero or appendages. It’s very much a one line circuit and very narrow in the areas where advantage might be taken. Looking at lap times the gapping was as much a reflection of machine limitations as it was tyre temps IMO.

Im looking forward (hopefully) to an in-depth report on the race and reasons behind the last minute tyre changes that quite a few riders/teams opted for.

I just had a look back at the bikes since 2016. Even in 2018/2019 the aero looks quaint compared to the last two years. The 2016 Ducati is sooo cute haha.

Aero specifically aimed at producing downforce has had some fleeting moments in the past. Nothing remotely near this scale. Also, 'back in the day' computers weren't such a powerful tool as they are now. That's part of killer with modern aero, it eventually gets optimised to a tiny tiny degree. It tends to get optimised for a relatively narrow window...running alone.

It is definitely too early to say anything for certain but this issue has been coming slowly since about 2017. I remember Cal was the one I heard talking about it first. Front tyre getting too hot while behind other bikes. Some were talking about the exhaust gasses being the cause. Struck me as weird because...unlike wings...hot exhaust gasses have been around constantly since year dot. We shall see what happens. I hope it's just a few circuits because the noises about this issue have been rising slowly since 2017 and now most riders talk about it at every race.

Aero appendages were added to F1 cars to increase drag and reduce top speed, after the FIA abandoned the 1.5L formula. I’d wager MotoGP has allowed them for roughly the same reason.

Increasing drag is not a useful implantation of technology, and it’s little surprise that F1 cars have virtually no relevance to production cars. It was only after F1 outlawed wake tuning the wings to ruin your competitors pace that the sport has recaptured a fraction of its former glory. Strict aero regs are/will be required in MotoGP as well. Aerodynamics will still be vital, but the irrelevant tech, like winglets need to disappear. Motorcycles don’t need an air brake attached to the front when the world is moving towards emissions restrictions.

No. There's no rules which require F1 or MotoGP to have any wings. F1 shifted from 1.5 litre to 3 litre for 1966 ? The wings appeared in 1968 I think, not added to increase drag, not imposed by rules but copied from other series, CanAm I think. A result of the huge step up in torque. Notice the tyres started to grow too. Very light cars and bikes with big torque are a Japanese drift maniac's dream, they have no grip.

It's really simple. The heavier the bike or car, the more grip because the more load on the tyre. As long as the load is not sufficient to deform the tyre enough so that it does not function, you get more friction. The problem is inertia. Big heavy things don't like changing their velocity. They don't like to accelerate, decelerate or change direction. Aero gives you the load without the inertia. The downforce is not free, it costs you drag. So yes, they do result in slowing you down...but then again they don't.

When a tyre is rolling down a track at high speed and hits a bump...it 'jumps'. Or it tries to 'jump'. Depends on the bump but as it 'falls' back off the bump it's unloaded to some degree. The frame of the bike might hardly notice but the unsprung part of the bike does. Even smooth tracks have bumps, just a matter of scale. These bumps can limit the speed a bike can reach, it's maximum absolute possible and the maximum that can be achieved on a given straight because as the tyre is unloaded, less grip. Downforce helps keeps the tyre loaded and on the track. You can also add the fact that the extra grip provided might mean you are faster exiting the turn before the straight to begin with. You can't wheelie a bike with a giant anvil of downforce on the front of the bike. All this adds up to mean higher top speeds despite the extra drag...might do, might not, just depends what you want depending what produces lap time.

Worse. You might succeed in reducing top speeds by forcing bikes or cars to use huge draggy wings but the side effect is higher speeds in turns. When people crash on straights they have a good chance, because of inertia, of continuing down the straight without coming to a sudden nasty injurious stop. It's why you don't see gravel traps and run off on the straights. In a turn you're most likely to hit something bad unless the bad things are far enough away. It's why they have huge gravel traps, run off and air fences around the outside of turns. The higher the speed in the turns, the bigger these need to be or the merchandise companies would struggle to keep up with the rider turnover.

I do remember some racing series added drag to reduce top speeds, seem to remember it was Indy related. The idea was to reduce top speeds and increase the slipstream. Everybody is scared of losing numbers. Cars must be able to 'drive on the ceiling' or average 220mph around a given oval and pull 'x' numbers of geeeees. Ditch the wings and it's impossible....I betcha the racing would be a 1000 times better though.

Sorry for the ramble.

I understand the general working principle and advantages of aero. My point is that F1 switched the formula and failed to correctly estimate engine horsepower and top speed so the FIA unbanned wings to increase the drag of the cars.

MotoGP is in a similar spot, and the rapidly declining braking distances indicate one of the reasons wings exist in MotoGP and the difficulty of getting rid of them.

My point is that aero in this situation is not really about tech. It’s a air brake.

 

I too thought the race was good, you can't have last lap battles at every race. But I guess it always helps when one of your favorite riders wins. For some reason I have liked Bastanini since his Moto 2 days and then how last year he would always make up ground late in the races on a two year old bike. 

Subjective I know, but I also know which way I swing when comparing the visual appeal of these two;

GP7 - https://everythingmotoracing.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GP7.jpg

GP22 - https://sports.cakrawalarafflesia.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/desmose...

I can appreciate both bikes on their own merit and the era that they were competing in. But one is a bike and the other is an experiment heading in the wrong direction imo.

You can keep your salad box but I'll take the rest thank you very much. 

Absolutely agree. Pre-saladbox-days Ducati were so often the nicest looking bikes around. 

if the wings and ride height gizmos vanished tomorrow, who here would lament the “good old days” of todays bikes?   I wager all is junkies would still watch, still bitch and moan and still be total fans of this sport.   
 

i love the closeness of todays racing, but not at the risk of no more passing, please. 
 

p.s.    just had a brain fart - wonder what racing with todays bikes but with no spec tire rule would be like.  Bridgestone special flown in Sunday morning for whomever wants their own recipe.  

I'd be more worried about the tire mfrs walking away if they're having trouble keeping up with all the added loads and getting blamed for resulting problems. Michelin has already put off introducing a new front for what, two season now? because they're having to keep changing the design to keep up with the extra loads and speeds. Not sure what use 350 km/h race tires have for future street applications, anyway.

Firstly, how fantastic to see such huge enthusiastic crowds at Le Mans and absolutely brilliant for the sport, sorry they didn't get a home boy on the podium but hopefully they'll all the back next year. The sad contrast will be at the UK round where crowds have been dwindling ever since MotoGP was taken off terrestrial TV, Silverstone is a vast circuit and its sad to see the empty stands compared to the sell-outs for F1.

Secondly MotoGP and Moto2 - we wuz robbed of great finishes by one of the frontrunners in each race bailing- Pedro Acosta did a 'Pecco' as well, was looking forward to a titanic battle in each race. Well done Bastiannini - awesomely done. Pecco I fear really has now set too big a mountain to climb, he probably now needs podiums as a default every round.

Oh no, the numbers game starts. Pecco is 46 points behind going to Mugello. The circuit where number 46 has the most wins, 7 and the most poles, 7. At Mugello the number 46 will be retired. Pecco is a product of the VR46 camp. It's got to be a Pecco win.

I enjoyed seeing Jack get a podium, hope this will dampen some of the noise about him being toast next year. He sometimes has the look of a whipped dog these days, and deserves better than that.

Also pleased to see Aleix doing the business yet again. The first time, I thought ‘flash in the pan’. Second time, ‘eh?’. Third time, we’ll he’s answered his own question, he is clearly good enough, and if it wasn’t for all the aero he might be troubling the front more often.

That said, I’m still on the fence regarding aero etc, in so far as it spoiling the racing. The last couple of races have been a bit processional but there were some great races last year and I hope there’ll be the same across 22. Not that I otherwise like it - it’s fugly, and it’s a sad thing when a bit of rubbing can render one bike fairly useless.

Not only does a bit of rubbing render a bike useless it leaves carbon fiber bits on the track. Soon someone will run over a broken off wing and slice a tire then the hand-wringing will commence. How about getting out in front of it? I would like to see aero restricted to inside the outer surface of the fairing. Make a double wall fairing and put the strakes between. Or something. All this tacked-on stuff looks to me like band-aids that need to be added post-manufacture in order to make a poor design work. Hey Gigi, Do U Care About This Issue or are you just trying to be the smartest guy in the room as with the "spoon"? Hmm?

I could have sworn they brought in rules like that two or three years back? Or am I imagining things. My guess is the genie’s out of the bottle and can never be put back now. While I don’t like the aesthetics of aero per se, I don’t care too much so long as it’s not actively working against the guy behind, a la F1. I know sweet FA about aero but I expect, since it’s possible to design it to leave dirty air in the wake, it’s also possible to design it to leave the air clean? Or better still, to create a lovely little bubble that makes overtaking even easier. Over to you guys, MSMA/Dorna.

They did ban the first batch of applied aero bits. Then they were going to approve them on a case-by-case basis. Then everything seemed to be allowed. Now we're here. Suzuki seemed to do just fine without all the tacked on aero yet Ducati need wings, strakes and ducts on every square inch. That would lead me to believe Ducati engineering is inferior.

What I really don't like is the shrapnel from broken off CF pieces left behind on the track. It is worse than razor wire and will slice anything. I've seen MTB parts fail and I would not want the sharp ends near my femoral artery.

I think the rule is still in place. The original safety issue was with wings injuring riders in a crash, especially other riders Mad Max style. So they put a minimum something on it, something like a minimum radius of fairing edges and other minimums. You could have the wings still but they had to be like child toy friendly wings. It's why they all have two element wings joined at he end with a fence of some sort. One mega child friendly wing that allows air to pass through its interior.

Not just the loss of a wing ruining a race. Broken ride height devices (imagine post crash R&R). And my personal pet peeve. Tear-offs. For the life of me, why get on your bike in the pits, and toss a tear-off as you drive down pit road. You mean you couldn't have done that 15 seconds earlier while in the box?

That's actually an important point about ride height devices. Aren't some of the settings location specific? So what happens when a rider like Rins goes way off track, and then reaches the first chicane? Was the ride height device a contributing factor in his crash compared to Zarco's narrow escape?

We may never know, but it's something to think about.

Rins said he was trying to keep to the left when re-entering the track because he was unsure where Jack was. So as he left the gravel with a little jump he had some angle on the bike. Zarco ran straight.

I agree about tear-offs. I noticed FM21 rips his off in the garage and hands it to a guy as he gets on the bike. Class act.