Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Le Mans:
Jorge Lorenzo has taken his form from Jerez and extended it at Le Mans. The Spaniard took a convincing victory at the French circuit, his second in a row, moving up to 2nd place in the championship and closing the gap to his teammate.
Lorenzo took charge of the race right from the start. The Spaniard got off the line well, then took the lead from Andrea Dovizioso round the outside at the first chicane. Dovizioso latched onto his tail, his Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone right behind him, with Marc Marquez struggling to compensate for a mediocre start and a difficult first few corners. The front four were soon joined by Valentino Rossi, with Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa right behind. Pedrosa's strong race lasted only another lap, the Spaniard crashing out at the chicane unhurt. He rejoined, but by then was a very long way behind the rest of the field.
Lorenzo was trying to pull a gap, but with little success. Dovizioso was sat a little way behind, with Iannone, Marquez and Rossi on is tail. Marquez was overriding an unwilling Repsol Honda, running wide and braking late, and Valentino Rossi soon capitalized on his mistakes, pushing cheekily past at the Chemin aux Boeufs esses, to take over 4th spot. Marquez' problems were not over, running wide again he let Smith pass underneath him, and was losing ground fast.
Dovizioso held station behind Lorenzo for ten laps, but in the end, his resistance cracked. The gap opened to a little over a second, and a hard charging Valentino Rossi started to pressure the Ducati man from behind. Dovizioso forestalled the inevitable for as long as possible, but eventually had to yield 2nd to Rossi. Once past, Rossi tried to give chase to Lorenzo, but the Spaniard had the strongest pace of the field, and slowly opened the gap until it became unbridgeable. Lorenzo took his second win in a row in similar style to Jerez, Valentino Rossi holding on to 2nd, and a comfortable lead in the championship, while Dovizioso returned the Ducati to the podium with a creditable 3rd.
If the battle for the podium was quickly over, the fight for 4th turned into a thriller. Once Rossi was past him, Andrea Iannone dropped quickly back off the front group, and after a big mistake which saw him lose three seconds in one lap, fell back into the clutches of Bradley Smith. But while Smith had the better pace, he could not find a way past the Ducati, Iannone exploiting both the better speed of the GP15, and its strength in braking. The pain he had been feeling in his dislocated shoulder disappeared in the heat of battle, and Iannone cleverly held Smith off to keep 4th. That allowed Marquez to catch up with his former Moto2 rivals, and engage the pair in battle. A knock-down, drag-out scrap ensued, with Marquez and Iannone pushing beyond the limit to try to get ahead of each other. Smith was left to watch bemused behind then, hoping that the two would take each other out.
After a battle that lasted nearly five laps, Marquez finally emerged victorious, taking 4th ahead of Iannone, and Smith settling for 6th. It had been a hard race for Marquez, visibly struggling to control his Honda all throughout the contest. But it had been even harder for Iannone. On Tuesday, the Italian had dislocated his shoulder in a very fast crash at Mugello, and was in severe pain while riding. To hang on to 5th position, in such fierce close combat with the world champion, speaks of incredible courage.
Behind the battle for 4th, Pol Espargaro rode a lonely race to come home in 7th, while Yonny Hernandez won the battle with Suzuki's Maverick Viñales and his Pramac Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top ten.
Lorenzo's victory helps close the gap to his teammate in the championship standings, Lorenzo now trailing Rossi by just 15 points. 4th place was badly needed by Marquez, but his deficit increased to 33 points behind the Italian, while Andrea Dovizioso sits between the two in third, trailing Rossi by 19 points.
|12||76||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||+1'00.617|
|17||15||Alex De Angelis||ART||+1'21.663|
|18||33||Marco Melandri||Aprilia||1 Lap|
|43||Jack Miller||Honda||14 Laps|
|17||Karel Abraham||Honda||14 Laps|
|35||Cal Crutchlow||Honda||21 Laps|
|45||Scott Redding||Honda||25 Laps|
|63||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||25 Laps|
|41||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||26 Laps|
|6||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||27 Laps|