Dani Pedrosa moved above Marc Marquez into the lead of the MotoGP World Championship with a second consecutive victory in wet conditions at Le Mans. Pedrosa had his work cut out initially with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso but eventually eased to a comfortable win with Cal Crutchlow coming through from seventh on lap one to finish a career-best second.
Dovizioso clearly revelled in conditions that suited the Ducati and moved straight into the lead when the race got underway. Pedrosa slotted into second ahead of the factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi but polesitter Marc Marquez was having a miserable start to the race, tumbling to eighth.
Pedrosa hit the front for the first time on lap five as Dovizioso left the door open at Garage Vert but a huge moment at La Chapelle reversed the order once again with Dani lucky not to reach the gravel. Garage Vert would be the place Pedrosa fought back, not once but twice, and the second of those moves on lap fourteen would finally prove decisive.
Crutchlow would emerge as the chief threat to Dovizioso as the factory Yamahas hit problems, Lorenzo sinking without trace due to an apparent lack of grip while Rossi, moments after being passed by Crutchlow for third, lost the front end of his YZR-M1 at Garage Vert. After getting his mistake out of the way on Saturday, Crutchlow was inspired and took advantage of an error exiting Dunlop to pass Dovizioso on the run down to La Chapelle.
Ducati’s hopes of a first podium in 2013 were dashed on the penultimate lap as a resurgent Marquez capped off a fine fightback by outbraking Dovizioso into Dunlop, ensuring he would only fall six points behind his teammate in the title standings. Nicky Hayden completed an excellent team result though with fifth ahead of Alvaro Bautista while Jorge Lorenzo’s problems left him a poor seventh.
Michele Pirro held off Bradley Smith to take eighth with Stefan Bradl counting the cost of another crash which relegated him to tenth. Valentino Rossi meanwhile managed to remount after his tumble and salvage four points for twelfth behind compatriot Andrea Iannone.