Petrucci wins Race of France in rain-hit conditions

Danilo Petrucci captured his first win of the season in a rained-out race at Le Mans. Repsol Honda’s rookie Alex Marquez took second place, his best placed finish in the premier class, ahead of the KTM of Pol Espargaro. .

Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo could only finish ninth and that was enough to extend his lead in the riders standings. Both championship contenders Joan Mir and Andrea Dovizioso ended 11th and 4th to remain second and third in the standings.

At race start, Petrucci shot off the grid into the lead from the front row, starting third on the grid. The two Ducatis led the race with Jack Miller in the Pramac Ducati in third. It was Ducatis in positions 1,2 and 3 in the early going. Behind the leading bikes, Joan Mir had to take serious evasive action on the opening lap after Valentino Rossi suffered a crash in front of him; the run-off cost him some positions.

The Ducati trio led for two thirds of the race. Alex Rins joined the foray in fourth as the Suzuki riider tried to dispatch Miller for third. Rins carved his way from seventh to fourth by lap 12. As the fastest rider on track, he made a jump to second by lap 18 of 26 when Dovizioso suffered tyre wear and Miller crashed out.

With seven laps to go, Rins would crash out of contention. This gave both Márquez and P.Espargaro a chance to creep up to second and third. Due to extreme tyre wear, Dovizioso was pushed back to fourth place. The race would finish with Petrucci pretty much taking a walk through win, followed by Marquez and Espargaro.

Dovizioso’s fourth place pushes him to third in the standings, 18 points behind Quartararo. Behind the Ducati were Johann Zarco, Miguel Oliveira, Takashi Nakagami and Stefan Bradl. Bradl’s eight place ensured a double finish for Repsol Honda, the first in a long while.

Quartararo finished ninth, while his Yamaha SRT team mate Franco Morbidelli crashed out of the race. Meanwhile, Maverick Vinales secured tenth place for factory Yamaha squad. He was the sole finisher for the factory team as Rossi crashed at race start. Mir made a last lap final dash to slot into 11th. This result was crucial for Mir, as he managed to maintain his second place in the title standings, where he now sits 10 points from the top.

The next race, tenth round, moves to the Aragon circuit in Spain from 16-18 October.

MotoGP Race of France results
1 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati Team 45’54.736
2 Alex MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +1.273
3 Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.711
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team +3.911
5 Johann ZARCO Esponsorama Racing +4.310
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +4.466
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +5.921
8 Stefan BRADL Repsol Honda Team +15.597
9 Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +16.687
10 Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +16.895

Riders standings
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha FRA 115
2 Joan MIR Suzuki SPA 105
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 97
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 96
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 81
6 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha ITA 77
7 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 75
8 Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 73
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 69
10 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 64