Miller goes back-to-back with record MotoGP win
Sunday 16th May, 2021 - 11:48pm
Jack Miller has defied a double long lap penalty to take a commanding MotoGP victory in the French Grand Prix.
Having qualified third, Miller grabbed the lead immediately by beating Monster Energy Yamaha team-mates Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales off the start line.
There were many twists and tales along the way but Miller would ultimately get the job done with a 3.970s margin to Johann Zarco.
Mixed conditions at Le Mans made for a chaotic race as a number of riders crashed out; including two incidents each for Marc Marquez and Alex Rins.
Miller though would not be caught out, besides the penalty he and Ducati Lenovo Team stable-mate Francesco Bagnaia copped for speeding in pit lane.
As it would turn out, Miller would become the first rider in MotoGP history to have been issued a double long lap penalty and still score a podium – let alone a win.
It’s a second straight win for the 26-year-old following his success in Jerez earlier this month, and continues a strong turnaround from a poor start to the season.
With the sun shining, a dry race was declared for the start.
Franco Morbidelli was the first to strike trouble, losing control and making contact with a fast-starting Valentino Rossi and Pol Espargaro.
Joan Mir crashed out by the time it had become clear rain was falling and by Lap 5 the white flag was showing, allowing riders to swap bikes and move to wet tyres.
Miller and Quartararo had been having a grand squabble for the lead before the former had an off, and the entire field bowled into the pits for a bike swap.
Marc Marquez emerged from the lane in first, with it later becoming apparent that Quartararo had stopped in the wrong pit bay.
It was during that sequence that Miller and Bagnaia drew the ire of officials, although the double long lap penalty did not seem to dramatically cost either.
Marquez would lose the lead with a Turn 12 crash on Lap 8 but managed to keep his #93 Repsol Honda going.
Miller then moved to the front by passing Quartararo four laps later – just as the Frenchman was issued a long lap sanction for his parking infringement.
Lorenzo Savadori and Miguel Oliveira were the next casualties as Miller stretched his legs at the head of the field.
Zarco would soon pass Takaaki Nakagami and set his sights on hunting down Quartararo, eventually getting by on Lap 22.
In the interim, Marc Marquez – who had charged back to 11th – would crash for a second and final time on Lap 18.
The podium placings would remain unchanged in the closing stages; delighted third-place finisher Quartararo reclaiming the championship lead from Bagnaia, with a one-point advantage.
Bagnaia recovered from 16th on the grid to take fourth, ahead of Danilo Petrucci.
Alex Marquez, Nakagami, Pol Espargaro, Iker Lecuona and Viñales rounded out the top 10, with Rossi 11th.
Having started the season with two ninths and a DNF, Miller has suddenly climbed to fourth in the standings.
Mugello will host Round 6 of the season on May 30.
MotoGP race results: Round 5 at Le Mans
|1||43||Jack MILLER||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||47’25.473|
|2||5||Johann ZARCO||Pramac Racing||Ducati||3.97|
|3||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||14.468|
|4||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||16.172|
|5||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||21.43|
|6||73||Alex MARQUEZ||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||23.509|
|7||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||30.164|
|8||44||Pol ESPARGARO||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||35.221|
|9||27||Iker LECUONA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||40.432|
|10||12||Maverick VIÑALES||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||40.577|
|11||46||Valentino ROSSI||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||42.198|
|12||10||Luca MARINI||SKY VR46 Avintia||Ducati||52.408|
|13||33||Brad BINDER||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||59.377|
|14||23||Enea BASTIANINI||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||+1’02.224|
|15||53||Tito RABAT||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+1’09.651|
|16||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||4 Laps|
|Not classified||93||Marc MARQUEZ||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||10 Laps|
|Not classified||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||12 Laps|
|Not classified||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||15 Laps|
|Not classified||42||Alex RINS||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||15 Laps|
|Not classified||32||Lorenzo SAVADORI||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||16 Laps|
|Not classified||36||Joan MIR||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||23 Laps|