Marc Marquez has already moved into a dominant MotoGP world championship lead after taking his third consecutive victory at Le Mans. The reigning champion took an unchallenged win after home favourite Johann Zarco and early leader Andrea Dovizioso both crashed out of strong positions, handing Marquez a 36-point lead after five races.
The 105,000-strong home crowd were cheering on the polesitter and Zarco was in the thick of the action early on, battling for the lead with the factory Ducatis of Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo. Dovizioso hit the front for the first time on lap five, outbraking his team-mate into the Dunlop chicane, but the Italian only held the advantage as far as the next corner when the front end of his Ducati washed away at La Chapelle, ending his afternoon.
Lorenzo continued out in front with Zarco and Marquez in close company but any dreams of a maiden victory on home soil for both Johann and Tech 3 were crushed on lap eight as the Frenchman lost the front end of his Yamaha at Garage Vert. With his main competition out of the running, the pressure eased on Marquez who patiently disposed of Lorenzo before easing away for his third victory of the season.
As Lorenzo faded, Danilo Petrucci emerged as the nearest challenger to Marquez, equalling his career-best result in second, while Valentino Rossi salvaged a podium for Movistar Yamaha from ninth on the grid. Jack Miller completed a superb afternoon for Pramac in fourth ahead of Dani Pedrosa with Lorenzo relegated all the way back to sixth in the closing stages.
Maverick Vinales paid the price for a disastrous opening lap, leaving him unable to do any better than seventh, while Cal Crutchlow rode heroically given the heavy high-side he suffered in qualifying, beating Aleix Espargaro and Alex Rins to eighth.
2018 HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France: (Result)
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