Pedrosa powers to victory at a slippery Le Mans

Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa secured his second MotoGP win of the season as he tamed wet conditions to win the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

The Honda rider produced a memorable ride coming from behind on several occasions before gapping the field to complete a comfortable victory and claim the championship lead.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow followed Pedrosa home to collect his best MotoGP result to date in second. The effort was made even more heroic with the Tech 1 Yamaha rider competing with a fractured tibia.

The Repsol Honda team completed the podium with poleman Marc Marquez salvaging a third place finish, coming from well back after a poor start.

Heavy rain before the race made track conditions extremely slippery and wet tyres were the order of the day for the MotoGP field.

It was Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who reacted best to the lights and to the conditions as he stormed into the lead at the first corner. He was followed by Jorge Lorenzo, while polesitter Marquez slumped to ninth. Pedrosa held third ahead of Stefan Bradl, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Crutchlow.

Despite difficult conditions, the leading group began to make moves with Yamaha’s Rossi sliding into fourth on lap two and Pedrosa passed Lorenzo for second a lap later.

Dovizioso tried to build a lead early on but was unable to pull away from Pedrosa and Lorenzo, which allowed Rossi to latch onto the lead trio. It wasn’t long before the Honda man grabbed the lead on the back straight and set about building an advantage.

But Pedrosa was unable to relax as the lead group soon turned into a six rider battle for the victory with Crutchlow and Hayden joining the party. The lead changed hands shortly after as the Spaniard ran wide allowing Dovizioso back to the head of the field, while Lorenzo suddenly slowed and dropped to sixth.

Pedrosa soon recovered the lead only to lose it again with another mistake. However, he redeemed himself by repassing Dovizioso. Further back a recovering Marquez began closing in on Lorenzo and the lead group. Crutchlow threw his hat into the ring as he stormed into third by overtaking Rossi.

Matters took a turn for the worse for the multiple world champion as he dropped the Yamaha and endured a slide through the gravel trap before he rejoined the fray and soldiered on to finish 12th.

Meanwhile at the front Pedrosa began to open up a healthy lead but there was plenty action behind as a mistake from Dovizioso was punished by Crutchlow. Further back Marquez’s recovery ride continued as he moved passed Hayden and Alvaro Bautista for fourth before eventually passing Dovizioso for the final podium spot.

Dovizioso hung on for fourth ahead of Ducati team mate Hayden, Bautista, Lorenzo, Michele Pirro, Bradley Smith and Bradl, who completed the top 10.

Local rider Randy Du Puniet was unable to bring the huge partisan crowd any joy as he retired with 13 laps remaining. Australia’s Bryan Staring had a race to forget retiring in the opening minutes.

MotoGP heads to Italy’s Mugello Circuit for round five of the championship on June 2.

Results – 28 laps

 1 Dani Pedrosa Honda 49:17.707s
 2 Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha +4.863s
 3 Marc Marquez Honda +6.949s
 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +10.087s
 5 Nicky Hayden Ducati +18.471s
 6 Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda +23.561s
 7 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha +27.961s
 8 Michele Pirro Ducati +40.775s
 9 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha +41.407s
10 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda +1:00.995s
11 Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati +1:05.110s
12 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +1:16.368s
13 Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia +1:24.200s
14 Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter-BMW +1:25.726s
15 Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia +1:32.111s
16 Colin Edwards Forward FTR-Kawasaki +1:40.602s
17 Michael Laverty  Paul Bird PBM-Aprilia +1lap
18 Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR-Kawasaki +1lap
19 Hector Barbera Avintia FTR-Kawasaki +1lap
20 Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Aprilia 8laps
21 Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 13laps
22 Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter-BMW 13laps
23 Claudio Corti Forward FTR-Kawasaki 21laps
24 Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 27laps

2013 MotoGP Standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Daniel Pedrosa 83
2 Marc Márquez 77
3 Jorge Lorenzo 66
4 Cal Crutchlow 55
5 Valentino Rossi 47
6 Andrea Dovizioso 39
7 Alvaro Bautista 38
8 Nicky Hayden 35
9 Aleix Espargaró 20
10 Andrea Iannone 18
11 Stefan Bradl 17
12 Bradley Smith 17
13 Michele Pirro 13
14 Ben Spies 9
15 Héctor Barberá 7
16 Randy de Puniet 6
17 Danilo Petrucci 4
18 Michael Laverty 3
19 Yonny Hernández 3
20 Colin Edwards 1
21 Hiroshi Aoyama 1
22 Karel Abraham 1

 

 

 

 

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