Romano Fenati put a disappointing start to 2015 behind him with his first victory of the season at Le Mans. The Italian was in the thick of an eight-man leading group throughout the race but kept his cool to lead home compatriots Enea Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia while Danny Kent rode a phenomenal race to finish fourth from 30th on the grid.
All eyes were on the championship leader after Leopard Racing’s disastrous qualifying session and Kent was able to navigate his way through the mayhem of lap one to gain thirteen places. His teammate and nearest championship wasn’t so lucky though as Efren Vazquez highsided at the Dunlop chicane, joining three other riders including Brad Binder on the sidelines.
A series of decisive overtakes saw Kent climb into the top ten on lap seven but three seconds still separated him from Isaac Vinales at the tail of the leading group. Squabbling up ahead slowed the pace, enabling Danny to close in and after some blistering laps in clear air, the Briton had astonishingly clawed himself into the fight for victory.
With ten laps remaining, Vinales relinquished eighth at La Chapelle while Miguel Oliveira, Jakub Kornfeil and Niccolo Antonelli were dispatched a lap later. The unfortunate exit of polesitter Fabio Quartararo would soon promote Kent up to fourth on lap eighteen with the home favourite becoming the latest rider to high-side exiting Dunlop, a fate that also befell his teammate Jorge Navarro.
Just the three leading Italians stood between Kent and a memorable victory and it first appeared as if the compatriots were about to open the door through their own desperation to win themselves. Bagnaia, in particular, was looking racy with a bold move at turn one on Fenati to hit the front two laps from home and but for the Mahindra’s lack of punch out of the final corner, the Aspar rider may have been able to hold Fenati back. As it was, the Sky VR46 rider breezed through in what would be the race-winning move on the final lap while Bastianini outbraked Bagnaia for second at Chemin aux Boeufs.
Despite failing to challenge the front three late on, Kent finished a heroic fourth ahead of Antonelli, Kornfeil and Vinales while Miguel Oliveira faded to eighth ahead of Andrea Migno and Phillip Oettl, the German youngster producing a ride to rival Kent’s from 33rd on the grid to tenth.
MOTO3 MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE: RACE RESULT (24 LAPS)
|1||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||41:22.829|
|2||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||+0.122|
|3||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+0.457|
|4||52. Danny Kent||Honda||Leopard Racing||+0.693|
|5||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+2.244|
|6||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+2.421|
|7||32. Isaac Vinales||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+2.587|
|8||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+4.065|
|9||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+14.876|
|10||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+22.588|
|11||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Leopard Racing||+23.247|
|12||58. Juanfran Guevara||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+26.231|
|13||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP||+26.470|
|14||63. Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+26.677|
|15||29. Stefano Manzi||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+26.841|
|16||55. Andrea Locatelli||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||+28.484|
|17||17. John McPhee||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+33.193|
|18||22. Ana Carrasco||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+38.979|
|19||6. Maria Herrera||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+39.450|
|20||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+58.182|
|NC||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+1 Lap|
|NC||10. Alexis Masbou||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+3 Laps|
|NC||31. Niklas Ajo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+3 Laps|
|NC||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP||+5 Laps|
|NC||20. Fabio Quartararo||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+7 Laps|
|NC||12. Matteo Ferrari||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+13 Laps|
|NC||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+14 Laps|
|NC||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||+15 Laps|
|NC||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+19 Laps|
|NC||19. Alessandro Tonucci||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||+22 Laps|
|NC||2. Remy Gardner||Mahindra||CIP||+24 Laps|
|NC||91. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+24 Laps|
|NC||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+24 Laps|
|NC||7. Efren Vazquez||Honda||Leopard Racing||+24 Laps|