Only 13 riders ended up finishing at Le Mans in the 1000th Grand Prix of the Motorcycle World Championship since 1949. But that’s not the only reason why the MotoGP race has its very special place in the history books. Marco Bezzecchi, Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco gave Ducati a triple win, and the 278,805 visitors over the entire race weekend at the Bugatti Circuit meant a new spectator record in the series.
“It’s fantastic! Now I can finally shave off my mustache, which I don’t like anyway,” said Bezzecchi. Since his victory at the Argentine GP at the beginning of April, he has let it sprout, now the man from the team of motorcycle legend Valentino Rossi was again at the top of the podium.
Others had less reason to celebrate. Defending champion Bagnaia landed in the gravel trap on lap five after colliding with Maverick Vinales. The Italian and the Spaniard fought a spiteful battle of words on site, the Aprilia driver hit Bagnaia on the helmet, the rushing marshals prevented a scuffle. Returnee Marc Marquez, who fell after a great performance on the penultimate lap in the fight for second place and was eliminated, was bitterly disappointed. And at KTM, too, they had secretly hoped for more.
Rookie Augusto Fernandez from sister team GasGas celebrated his best MotoGP result to date with fourth place. But Jack Miller, who initially led briefly, had to pay the price for his high pace and crashed out with three laps to go. The always reliable Brad Binder, second behind Martin in Saturday’s sprint, finally finished sixth. In the overall standings, Bagnaia is only one point ahead of Bezzecchi, while Binder is third, 13 points behind.
The Moto2 race was stopped on lap three after a crash. Tony Arbolino won after the restart, young KTM star Pedro Acosta dropped out and lost the championship lead to the winner. Daniel Holgado (KTM) held off Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) in Moto3 to extend his lead in the overall standings.
French Grand Prix: 1st Bezzecchi (It) Ducati 41:37.970 mins, 2nd Martin (Sp) Ducati +4.256s, 3rd Zarco (Fra) Ducati +4.795; further: 4th Fernandez (Sp) GasGas KTM +6.281, 6th Binder (Rsa) KTM +13.638; Eliminated ao: Bagnaia (It) Ducati, Miller (Aus) KTM, M. Marquez (Sp) Honda; Driver standings: 1st Bagnaia 94 points, 2nd Bezzecchi 93, 3rd Binder 81. Next: 8th Miller 49; Constructors: 1. Ducati 174 points, 2. KTM 103, 3. Aprilia 80.