Photos by Repsol Honda and MotoGP

Marc Marquez wins the HJC Helmets France MotoGP race at Le Mans

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez extends his MotoGP championship lead to 36 points at the HJC Helmets France race held in Mans circuit as he cruised to victory over Alma Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.

The reigning world champion’s task was made easier early in the race as it was a disaster for both Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco as the pair crashed out of contention in separate incidents and scored no points.

Andrea Dovizioso crashes while leading the race

On the gravel… Dovizioso left confused over his DNF

Ducati Corse’s Dovizioso went down into La Chapelle on lap 5 having unsettling his GP18 and running wide after just passing teammate Jorge Lorenzo for the lead and then, 3 laps later, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Zarco slid off at Turn 8 to the horror of the home crowd.

It left Petrucci and 9-time world champion Rossi to chase Marquez for the win but they had nothing for the Spaniard and he took victory by 2.3 seconds over the Italian with the Yamaha rider a further 3 seconds adrift.

Danilo Petrucci powered wheelie at Le Mans race

Petrucci’s teammate Jack Miller bagged an excellent 4th place after passing Lorenzo with 14 laps remaining, and Dani Pedrosa eventually followed him through after spending way too much time trying to find a way past the #99.

Valentino Rossi at HJC Helmets race at Le Mans

Lorenzo’s chances of keeping his works ride have just gotten smaller from getting beaten by two satellite Ducatis, and his soft/soft tyre combination was fast in the opening laps but he just couldn’t keep it together and he eventually finished nearly 3 seconds behind Pedrosa.

Rossi, who chose a soft rear, managed to keep his rhythm in increasing track temperatures but the same could not be said for teammate Maverick Vinales, who ended some 13seconds behind Lorenzo and only 2 seconds ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who was still in hospital this morning.

Cal Crutchlow

Crutchlow suffered a monster highside in qualifying yesterday and had to spend the night in the Le Mans hospital but was passed fit for morning warm-up and battled to an heroic eighth after finding his way past Aleix Espargaro and and Alex Rins.

L-R: Petrucci, Marquez and Rossi

Pol Espargaro finished in 11th with Hafizh Syahrin picking up top rookie in 12th, one ahead of Franky Morbidelli. Bradley Smith and Taka Nakagami completed the Top 15. Scott Redding crashed out while Iannone didn’t finish lap 1, going down at La Chapelle.

Marquez is now on 95 points with, amazingly, Vinales second on 59. Zarco is third on 58, Rossi fourth on 56 and Petrucci moves to fifth on 54. Dovizoso is now ninth and almost two race wins behind.

Marc Marquez gives the #1 salute at par ferme after the race

Posted by Philip Chong

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