MotoGP Le Mans: Marco Bezzecchi wins chaotic race and leads Ducati podium lockout

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Marco Bezzecchi dominated a dramatic MotoGP race at Le Mans to secure victory in the 1000th Grand Prix.

The Mooney VR46 Ducati rider enjoyed an early battle with Marc Marquez and was forced to drop back a position after he forced Marquez off the circuit with move into turn eight. As a result, Bezzecchi had to drop back behind Martin into third.

Undeterred, Bezzecchi got the position back befote closing in on early leader Jack Miller, taking the lead away on lap 11. The different in pace was obvious, with Martin immediately pulling a 0.6s gap between him and the field within a lap.

From that point, nobody was able to get close to the VR46 Academy member. Bezzecchi clinched his second victory of the season and moves to within a point of championship leader Pecco Bagnaia.

Martin came home in second after a fantastic fight with Marc Marquez, with the pair exchanging positions more than once. On the penulimtate lap, Martin went down the inside of Marquez at turn seven and made the move stick, whilst the latter lost the front of his RC213V and crashed.

As a result, Frenchman Johann Zarco inherited the final step on the podium, much to the delight of the 116,000+ bumper crowd which had crammed into the historic Bugatti Circuit. The Pramac Racing duo of Martin and Zarco are now fourth and fifth in the championship standings respectively.

Marc Marquez and Jorge Martin battle at Le Mans

The crash for Marquez was just one of many incidents in what proved to be a crazy race. Bagnaia and Maverick Vinales ended up squaring up to each other in the gravel trap at turn 12 after coming together.

Vinales dove down the inside at turn 11 but ran slightly wide, before the pair collided as they both went for the same line. This caused Vinales to lose control of his RS-GP, and slam into Bagnaia, taking both riders down.

Bagnaia was taken to the medical centre for a check-up after sharing a ride back to the paddock with Vinales. It’s Bagnaia’s second Grand Prix DNF of the season, whilst he also failed to finish inside the points in the Argentina GP race.

Moments after that incident there was a scary collision between Luca Marini and Alex Marquez. Marini tucked the front on the exit of the Dunlop Chicane, but was able to make the save, only for Alex Marquez to clatter in to him, leaving the latter stranded on the circuit.

Marquez was left unsighted coming out of the corner, with Bezzecchi also taking avoiding action in front of him. Marini later explained to media that he had some pain in his thumbs as a result of the incident.

Back at the front, Augusto Fernandez put in a sensational performance to finish fourth. The rookie has shown potential all weekend and was able to give Tech3 another reason to celebrate at their home GP – Daniel Holgado’s victory in the Moto3 class was the team’s first victory at their home round.

Aleix Espargaro completed the top five for Aprilia, whilst Brad Binder came home in sixth after an eventful race. The South African made the perfect launch of the grid, gaining multiple positions, but was soon pushed out wide and dropped to 16th. Binder was also handed a long lap penalty for cutting the course later in the race.

Home hero Fabio Quartararo’s woes continued down in seventh. He later explained that he was suffering physically, with a bout of arm pump following a sports massage in the morning which was too aggressive.

Takaaki Nakagami and Franco Morbidelli took advantage of the chaos ahead of them to complete the top 10, whilst the returning Danilo Petrucci finished 11th. Lorenzo Savadori and Jonas Folger were the final two riders to make the finish.

Elsewhere, Joan Mir’s nightmare at Repsol Honda continued as he suffered yet another crash. He’s failed to finish the last three Grand Prix races he’s competed in, whilst he’s also crashed in three of the sprint races.

Likewise, former Suzuki teammate Alex Rins also crashed his LCR Honda RC213V, suffering a second consecutive GP race DNF.

Despite leading the early stages, Miller had dropped to sixth by the time he crashed out of the race on lap 25. He leaves France with zero points having also crashed during Saturday’s sprint race.

Round six of the 2023 MotoGP season takes place at Mugello on June 9-11, and is followed by two further back-to-back race weekends at Sachsenring (June 16-18) and Assen (June 23-25).

MotoGP Le Mans Grand Prix Result

Jorge Martin claimed his first victory of the 2023 MotoGP season at Le Mans after dominating the sprint race in France.

Martin moved up into second at the start of the race and settled in behind reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia. The Pramac Racing Ducati rider made his move on Bagnaia at the Dunlop Chicane on lap four, and crossed the line at the end of that lap with a 0.5s advantage.

Martin was left untroubled for the remainder of the race as he pulled away from an entertaining battle for the remaining podium positions.

Brad Binder came home in second for Red Bull KTM, saving the team’s day after teammate Jack Miller crashed out of a podium position at turn seven on the second lap of the race.

Bagnaia completed the top three after battling back from a slow few laps in the middle of the race. A traffic jam built up behind the Ducati rider after being overtaken by Martin, with the duel between Bagnaia and Marquez at the Dunlop Chicane allowing Binder through.

Bagnaia and Marquez would continue to battle hard against each other, with Bagnaia securing his spot on the podium at the start of lap 10 by going down the inside of Marquez on the run into turn one.

Luca Marini also overtook Marquez to finish fourth, with the latter completing the top five. Johann Zarco was closing Marquez down heading onto the final lap, but the Frenchman made a mistake and was unable to attempt a move.

Marco Bezzecchi finished seventh for Mooney VR46 Ducati, ahead of Aprilia duo Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. Takaaki Nakagami completed the top 10, finishing ahead of teammate Alex Rins and Fabio di Giannantonio.

Franco Morbidelli and Joan Mir finished 13th and 14th respectively, ahead of Alex Marquez and the returning Danilo Petrucci. Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori was the final rider to finish the race.

Home favourite Fabio Quartararo crashed out of the race at turn nine on the 10th lap, whilst GASGAS Tech3 duo Jonas Folger and Augusto Fernandez both suffered separate crashes at turn seven.

MotoGP Sprint Race Result - Le Mans