Jorge Lorenzo has regained the lead in the MotoGP world championship after a dominant victory in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The reigning champion led home Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi by over ten seconds while Marc Marquez saw his fifteen point advantage disappear when he crashed out of fourth place.
In typical fashion, Lorenzo laid the foundation for a lights-to-flag victory by making a blistering start while the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone disputed second. Marquez had fallen to fourth while Rossi established himself in fifth after fighting his way past the two Tech 3 Yamahas. Iannone muscled his way past his teammate into second on lap six but his disastrous 2016 season brought yet more disappointment moments later when he lost the front at Garage Vert.
With Dovizioso falling back into the clutches of Marquez and Rossi, Lorenzo had an unchallenged run to victory but the fight for second was far from settled. On lap thirteen, Rossi dived past his arch-rival to claim third while the half-distance point was marked by a move on Dovizioso at Musée, promoting ‘The Doctor’ to second. Dovizioso and Marquez were still able to keep pace despite the ease at which they were overtaken but an extraordinary incident on lap sixteen saw the pressure lifted from Valentino’s shoulders, his two pursuers suffering simultaneous crashes at Musée.
As Yamaha’s factory riders cruised to a comfortable 1-2, Maverick Vinales, the rider hotly linked with a switch to the world champions next year, claimed a maiden MotoGP rostrum after holding off Dani Pedrosa. Pol Espargaro gave Tech3 some cheer at their home Grand Prix by beating his brother Aleix to fifth while Danilo Petrucci produced a brave ride on his return from injury, hanging on to seventh despite late pressure from Hector Barbera.
Eugene Laverty was the only British rider to see the chequered flag, bringing his Aspar Ducati home in eleventh, two places ahead of Marc Marquez who remounted to score three potentially valuable points. Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith joined the Repsol Honda rider on the list of crashers though while Scott Redding was halted by technical problems.
2016 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (Race Result)
|1||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||43:51.290||25|
|2||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+10.654||20|
|3||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+14.177||16|
|4||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+18.719||13|
|5||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+24.931||11|
|6||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+32.921||10|
|7||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+38.251||9|
|8||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+38.504||8|
|9||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+48.536||7|
|10||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+54.502||6|
|11||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+1:02.677||5|
|12||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+1:07.658||4|
|13||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+1 Lap||3|
|NC||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+9 Laps|
|NC||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+11 Laps|
|NC||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+13 Laps|
|NC||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||+17 Laps|
|NC||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+21 Laps|
|NC||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||+22 Laps|
|NC||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+22 Laps|
|NC||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+23 Laps|