Bezzecchi wins French MotoGP crashfest
Sunday 14th May, 2023 - 10:58pm
Marco Bezzecchi has won a dramatic French MotoGP Grand Prix Race which included crashes for Francesco Bagnaia and Maverick Viñales – together – plus Jack Miller and Marc Marquez.
Bagnaia and Viñales made contact in the battle for third at Garage Bleus on Lap 5 and both went tumbling into the gravel trap, before a nasty incident between Luca Marini and Alex Marquez.
Marini’s Mooney VR46 team-mate Bezzecchi had his troubles too, having to serve a position drop penalty during his 27 laps around Le Mans, but would run away with victory on his Ducati.
Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin finished 4.256s behind, and it was during his late pass of Marc Marquez for second place that the Repsol Honda rider crashed out at La Musee.
Johann Zarco made it both Pramac Ducatis on the podium, from Tech3 GasGas rookie Augusto Fernandez, Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, LCR Honda’s Takaaaki Nakagami, and Mosnter Energy Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.
Miller led during the early stages but had faded to seventh by the time he dropped his Red Bull KTM on Lap 25, making for his second crash in as many afternoons.
In the rider’s championship Bagnaia now leads by just a point over Bezzecchi, with Binder 13 points off the pace.
Marc Marquez had qualified on the middle of the front row and led the field through the first corner, while Miller grabbed second through the Turn 3/Turn 4 chicane complex, with Marini taking up third and Martin fourth.
Pole-sitter Bagnaia (Ducati Team) got shuffled back to fifth but re-passed Martin almost immediately, at Musee.
Miller tried to overtake Marc Marquez at Musee on Lap 2, but could not make the move stick there, nor when he tried again straight away at Garage Vert.
Just behind, Bagnaia did successfully make a pass on Marini for third at Garage Vert, as Martin ran wide and dropped from fifth to 10th.
Miller passed Marquez at the third time of asking, at Turn 3 on Lap 3, while Viñales (Aprilia Racing) had inherited fifth thanks to Martin’s error and was looking for more progress.
Het got by Marini for fourth at Turn 4 on Lap 5 but when he also fashioned a move on Bagnaia seven corners later at Garage Bleus, disaster struck.
Viñales went underneath the #1 Desmosedici and seemingly thought he was clear but when they switched back for Turn 12, he and ‘Pecco’ converged on the same piece of real estate, causing contact which took both down and into the gravel trap.
Bagnaia pushed the Aprilia rider as he attempted to apologise, although both had cooled down by the time they hitched a moped ride back to the paddock together.
Moments later, there was a scary incident at the exit of Turn 4, when Marini tried to catch a moment but got hit by Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati).
Thankfully, the following riders avoided further incident as they sped past.
Marini’s VR46 team-mate Bezzecchi inherited third as a result of the chaos and tried to take second from Marquez at Garage Vert on Lap 8, only to run wide and force the Honda pilot to join him in the Long Lap Penalty loop.
Bezzecchi emerged second but would be issued a position drop and thus had to let Martin go past.
It only temporarily halted the progress of the Italian, who was gifted second place back when Martin ran wide at La Chapelle on Lap 10, which let Marquez through as well.
Bezzecchi sped past Miller into Turn 1 on Lap 11 and then Marquez overtook the #43 RC16 for second at Chemin aux Boeufs later that lap.
It was the start of a rapid decline for Miller, who had opted for the popular choice of the soft Michelin front tyre, and he was seventh after another half a dozen laps, behind Martin in third, Zarco in fourth, Augusto Fernandez in fifth, and Aleix Espargaro in sixth.
Meanwhile, Bezzecchi had put the hammer down and was two seconds to the good with 10 laps to go, but Martin was closing in on Marquez, with his cause helped when #93 ran wide at Garage Vert.
Binder passed his KTM team-mate Miller at Chemin aux Boeufs but came in too hot and shortcut the complex, attracting a Long Lap Penalty which he took on Lap 21, allowing Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) to claim eighth spot.
Marquez resisted when Martin tried an overtake at Chemin aux Boeufs on Lap 21, and the Pramac man could not make the pass stick at Garage Vert on Lap 22, as Bezzecchi ran three seconds up the road.
Even when ‘The Martinator’ used the power of his Ducati to fashion an overtake at Turn 1 on Lap 25, Marquez outbraked him again at Turn 3.
Martin did have the move all but done on the penultimate lap at La Musee when Marquez asked too much of his front tyre as they rounded the left-hander.
Bezzecchi was clear of all the drama and claimed victory in MotoGP’s 1000th Grand Prix in an all-Ducati podium.
Danilo Petrucci finished 11th in his injury fill-in ride for Enea Bastianini at the Ducati Team, with Lorenzo Savadori (CryptoData RNF Aprilia) 12th as he stood in for Miguel Oliveira, and Jonas Folger 13th on the Tech3 GasGas bike which Pol Espargaro would have been on.
They were the last three finishers, with Alex Rins (LCR Honda) and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda) also having crashes of their own.
Round 6 is the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on June 9-11.
Race results: Grand Prix race
|1||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||41:37.970|
|2||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+4.256|
|3||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+4.795|
|4||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+6.281|
|5||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+6.726|
|6||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+13.638|
|7||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+15.023|
|8||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+15.826|
|9||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+16.370|
|10||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+17.828|
|11||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+29.735|
|12||32||Lorenzo SAVADORI||ITA||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+36.135|
|13||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+49.808|
|DNF||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+2 laps|
|DNF||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+3 laps|
|DNF||42||Alex RINS||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+13 laps|
|DNF||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+15 laps|
|DNF||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+22 laps|
|DNF||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+22 laps|
|DNF||1||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+23 laps|
|DNF||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+23 laps|
Race winner: 27 laps
|15||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||25|
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