Marquez eases to French GP win as title rivals crash

Marc Marquez pic: MotoGP.com

Marc Marquez holds a commanding championship lead after winning a French MotoGP in which front-runners Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco both crashed.

Both the Spaniard’s nearest championship rival, Zarco, and the man who pushed him all the way to the final race of the 2017 season, Dovizioso, hit the deck before the eighth lap was over.

Marquez eased to victory ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi, while Jack Miller took fourth.

Jorge Lorenzo made another brilliant start to vault from sixth on the grid into the lead ahead of Marc Marquez, who was also good off the line.

The #93 Repsol Honda was shuffled back through Turns 2 and 3, however, as Zarco took up second position.

Dovizioso made it a three-way battle for the lead on Lap 2 and passed Zarco when the pole-sitter ran wide at La Chapelle.

The Italian relieved factory Ducati team-mate Lorenzo of first position two laps later at Turn 3, only to crash out three corners later.

Marquez made a committed move past Zarco on Lap 7 but the Frenchman regained second position a few corners later.

Like Dovizioso, the Tech3 Yamaha rider’s gain was short-lived when he crashed out of his home grand prix at Garage Vert on Lap 8.

Lorenzo was forced to stand his Ducati up when Marquez fired down the inside at La Chapelle on Lap 10, and the Spaniard ceded another position to Petrucci on the next lap.

Petrucci initially went with Marquez but couldn’t match the world champion’s pace, the margin peaking at 2.8s at the start of the 27th and final lap.

The win was the 25-year-old’s third straight, and the 25-point haul takes him 36 clear at the top of the championship.

“I’m happy because this victory is important, at a circuit that normally we struggle,” said Marquez.

Petrucci took second on his current-spec Pramac Ducati, two positions ahead of team-mate Miller on a year-old version.

Miller maintained his starting position of seventh when the lights went out and initially gained positions when Dovizioso and Zarco went down.

The Queenslander then passed Lorenzo for fourth position on Lap 14, where he remained until the chequered flag, promoting him to sixth in the standings.

Splitting the Pramac Ducatis was Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who got by his former team-mate Lorenzo a lap earlier.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) finished fifth, ahead of Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha), the latter of whom moves up to second on the table despite another uncompetitive showing.

Cal Crutchlow did take the start despite a major highside during qualifying and gradually rose to eighth by the end of the race, with the top 10 rounded out by Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) and Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar).

The other Suzuki Ecstar entry of Andrea Iannone was one of six retirements, all for crashes, when the Italian went down on the opening lap.

Round 6 is the Italian MotoGP at Mugello on June 1-3.

Race results: French MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 41:49.773
2 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +2.310
3 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +5.350
4 43 Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +6.314
5 26 Dani PEDROSA ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +7.419
6 99 Jorge LORENZO ESP Ducati Team Ducati +10.355
7 25 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +23.758
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +25.795
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +26.206
10 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +27.937
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +32.304
12 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +34.962
13 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +37.881
14 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +38.299
15 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +41.986
16 12 Thomas LUTHI SUI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +45.260
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati +56.872
18 10 Xavier SIMEON BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1:12.117
DNF 45 Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 17 Laps
DNF 53 Tito RABAT ESP Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 17 Laps
DNF 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 19 Laps
DNF 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 23 Laps
DNF 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA ESP Angel Nieto Team Ducati 26 Laps
DNF 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 95
2 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 59
3 Johann ZARCO FRA 58
4 Valentino ROSSI ITA 56
5 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 54
6 Jack MILLER AUS 49
7 Andrea IANNONE ITA 47
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR 46
9 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA 46
10 Dani PEDROSA ESP 29
11 Tito RABAT ESP 24
12 Alex RINS ESP 22
13 Pol ESPARGARO ESP 18
14 Jorge LORENZO ESP 16
15 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA 16
16 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP 13
17 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL 13
18 Alvaro BAUTISTA ESP 12
19 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 10
20 Mika KALLIO FIN 6
21 Scott REDDING GBR 5
22 Bradley SMITH GBR 5
23 Karel ABRAHAM CZE 1
24 Thomas LUTHI SUI 0
25 Xavier SIMEON BEL 0

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]