Jack Miller overcame the odds and fierce competition to take his third Moto3 victory of the season at Le Mans. The Australian was completely outgunned in a straight line by the Hondas of Efren Vazquez, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez but used all of his skill and race craft to get his nose in front by the finish, extending his championship lead to 30 points following Romano Fenati’s retirement.
In its early stages, the race followed a very similar pattern to those in Texas and Spain with the Honda of Vazquez proving unbeatable on the straights only to be reeled back in once it arrived at the braking zones. In each of the first seven laps, Vazquez would lead through turn one only to be overtaken again by the end of the lap, often as early as the Dunlop chicane.
A near-accident between Vazquez and Miller, followed by another close shave between Efren and Alex Marquez, threatened to hand Alex Rins a decisive break at the front just before half distance but led by Marquez, the chasing group regained contact with the no.42 Honda in time for a frenetic finale.
With four laps to go, Vazquez breezed past Rins on the pit straight but an error at Musée on the penultimate lap handed Alex an opportunity to pounce. The pair engaged in a late braking duel into Garage Vert but as they watched each other, Miller ambushed them both to sneak through on the inside.
Victory still seemed unlikely heading into the final lap with Vazquez motoring past the KTM once again on the approach to turn one, doing so again on the back straight after Miller had responded at Dunlop, but the Australian’s supremacy in the brakes proved crucial as he dived back through at Chemin aux Boeufs before chopping the Spaniard’s nose off at turn ten.
With Vazquez totally wrong-footed three corners from home, Miller had enough in hand to claim a sensational win with Alex Rins ghosting back into second. Isaac Vinales was a contender throughout and was rewarded with a deserved podium with Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Marquez demoting the unfortunate Vazquez to sixth after his banzai attempt at snatching the lead backfired.
Enea Bastianini finished a fine seventh ahead of John McPhee who rode one of his best races in Moto3 to take eighth. Alexis Masbou was ninth while Jakub Kornfeil rounded out a top ten covered by just 2.1s, one of the closest finishes in living memory.