Fenati Holds His Nerve to Win at Le Mans


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)

PosRiderConstructorTeamTime/Gap
15. Romano FenatiKTMSky Racing Team VR4641:22.829
233. Enea BastianiniHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto3+0.122
321. Francesco BagnaiaMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+0.457
452. Danny KentHondaLeopard Racing+0.693
523. Niccolo AntonelliHondaOngetta-Rivacold+2.244
684. Jakub KornfeilKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+2.421
732. Isaac VinalesHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse+2.587
844. Miguel OliveiraKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+4.065
916. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR46+14.876
1065. Philipp OettlKTMSchedl GP Racing+22.588
1176. Hiroki OnoHondaLeopard Racing+23.247
1258. Juanfran GuevaraMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+26.231
1311. Livio LoiHondaRW Racing GP+26.470
1463. Zulfahmi KhairuddinKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+26.677
1529. Stefano ManziMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia+26.841
1655. Andrea LocatelliHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto3+28.484
1717. John McPheeHondaSaxoprint-RTG+33.193
1822. Ana CarrascoKTMRBA Racing Team+38.979
196. Maria HerreraHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse+39.450
2098. Karel HanikaKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+58.182
NC88. Jorge MartinMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+1 Lap
NC10. Alexis MasbouHondaSaxoprint-RTG+3 Laps
NC31. Niklas AjoKTMRBA Racing Team+3 Laps
NC24. Tatsuki SuzukiMahindraCIP+5 Laps
NC20. Fabio QuartararoHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+7 Laps
NC12. Matteo FerrariMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia+13 Laps
NC95. Jules DaniloHondaOngetta-Rivacold+14 Laps
NC40. Darryn BinderMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team+15 Laps
NC9. Jorge NavarroHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+19 Laps
NC19. Alessandro TonucciMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team+22 Laps
NC2. Remy GardnerMahindraCIP+24 Laps
NC91. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA Racing Team+24 Laps
NC41. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+24 Laps
NC7. Efren VazquezHondaLeopard Racing+24 Laps