Scott Redding finally broke his duck to take victory in his first Moto2 race at Le Mans today, 20 years to the day since Alan Carter's win in the same class at the French track.
Takaai Nakagami took an early lead after a brilliant start from pole, but soon lost the lead to Pol Espagaro. However, he couldn't get away from the Japanese racer, who soon retook the lead as Esteve Rabat joined the battle as well.
Scott Redding, starting from second, had a disaster of a start, falling back to eighth. However, the start of the race went to wildcard Gino Rea, who went from 31st on the grid to 15th place at the end of the first lap.
However, big drama occurred on lap two, as teammates Espargaro and Rabat simultaneously crashed out on the same turn, handing their podium positions to Zarco and Simeon. They were soon followed into the gravel by Thomas Luthi, as rain began to fall on some parts of the track.
Nakagami, aided by the crashes behind him, was able to pull out a lead of two seconds ahead of the seven-way battle for second place, with Zarco being chased by Simeon, Aegerter, Scott Redding, Kallio, Pasini and di Meglio.
There was more drama, however, on lap six, as Nakagami fell from the lead, in a replica of the crashes of Espargaro and Rabat, giving Zarco the lead and promoting a rapidly improving Redding to second.
Both Tony Elias and Gino Rea, making good progress from bad grid positions, were running 10th and 12th at one third distance, before a crash from Elias demoted him out and put Rea into 11th. However, a big moment from him bumped him back to 18th.
With 18 laps remaining, Redding made another of the late braking manoeuvres at the Dunlop chicane that he had used repeatedly to take the lead from Zarco, and immediately managed to pull out a lead at the front.
Disaster struck Gino Rea on lap ten as he was forced to retire to the pits with a mechanical problem.
A steady rhythm then settled on the race, allowing Redding to maintain his lead. When rain started to fall, his lead quickly fell, before red flags brought the race to a premature end on lap 24 of 26, handing Redding the win.
His teammate Mika Kallio took second for the MarcVDS team, ahead of Xavier Simoen. Swiss Dominique Aegerter was fourth, Zarco fifth, and Pasini sixth.
Danny Kent rode a strong race to finish 16th, just behind Tech3 teammate Louis Rossi.
After a season dominated by Spaniards so far, taking every race win to date, the first Spanish rider in the Moto2 race was Moncayo back in 17th.
Redding commented "It’s a well-earned victory for me in difficult conditions, and I need to thank all my MarcVDS team for making it happen. I’m so pleased to finally get that first win."
1 45 Scott REDDING GBR Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex 36'43.583
2 36 Mika KALLIO FIN Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex +1.090
3 19 Xavier SIMEON BEL Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex +1.234
4 77 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Technomag carXpert Suter +1.701
5 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Came Iodaracing Project Suter +1.859
6 54 Mattia PASINI ITA NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up +12.272
7 63 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA JiR Moto2 Motobi +12.378
8 60 Julian SIMON SPA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +29.712
9 95 Anthony WEST AUS QMMF Racing Team Speed Up +30.479
10 15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up +31.235
16 52 Danny KENT GBR Tech 3 Tech 3 +45.151