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Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez wins after fighting off Ducatis

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Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez wins after fighting off Ducatis
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Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez eased to his third victory of the campaign at Le Mans, recording Honda's 300th win in grand prix motorcycle racing's premier class.

Marquez, who had lined up on pole, fought off the Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller early on before assuming full control of the race and cruising to his second successive Le Mans win.

Petrucci had challenged Marquez at the start, the pair going side by side into Turn 1 before Marquez reclaimed the lead down the inside into the chicane.

The Ducati rider tried again a lap later, but once more couldn't make a move stick, and his initial challenge then faded as he was shuffled down to fifth a lap later.

Marquez, however, could not establish an immediate gap as Pramac privateer Miller quickly negated his breakaway, before lunging past the reigning champion on the fifth lap.

But Marquez was back ahead two laps later, diving down the inside of Miller at the Dunlop chicane and successfully anticipating a La Chapelle counter-attack from the Aussie, who ran out wide and finally surrendered first place to the Honda man.

From there on Marquez began to assert his authority, pulling out a second between himself and Miller as the 27-lap race approached its halfway point.

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, who had slipped down to seventh at the start but fought back up the order, was shadowing Miller by that point, and moved past when Miller went wide at the La Musee left-hander.

Yet Dovizioso, three seconds behind Marquez after he'd made the move on Miller, had no answer to the race leader's pace either, and was instead faced with a late challenge for second from Petrucci.

With five laps left to run, Petrucci attempted a move down the inside of Dovizioso entering the Dunlop chicane, only to run out wide and hand the spot back to his factory squadmate.

He was eyeing up a move at La Musee on the subsequent lap, and dived down the inside at the left-hander the next time by, but Dovizioso held his line and maintained position.

The works teammates remained close on track until the chequered flag, Petrucci eventually finishing 0.158s behind Dovizioso to secure his first podium as a factory Ducati rider.

Miller held on to fourth place, seeing off the Yamaha of Valentino Rossi in a late scrap for position.

Rossi's teammate and practice pace-setter Maverick Vinales had dropped to as low as 14th early on, and made little progress before being taken out by rookie Pecco Bagnaia on the seventh lap.

Bagnaia lost control of his Pramac-run Ducati at the sweeping Turn 12 right-hander and collected Vinales, who was launched off his Yamaha and into the gravel.

KTM's Pol Espargaro muscled his way into the top five at the start, and eventually secured sixth place, recording the Austrian manufacturer's second-best MotoGP result thus far.

Franco Morbidelli couldn't find a way past Espargaro and settled for seventh, while his Petronas Yamaha teammate Fabio Quartararo recovered from a poor start and a third-lap error to finish close behind in eighth.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow was ninth, with Suzuki's Alex Rins managing no better than 10th and Marquez's teammate Jorge Lorenzo finishing right behind Rins despite having run the whole race within the top 10.

The other Suzuki of Joan Mir crashed on the warm-up lap at the Dunlop chicane, with Karel Abraham simultaneously dropping his Avintia Ducati at the same corner.

Both eventually joined the race, but while Abraham was eventually black-flagged, Mir was last of the finishers in 16th.

Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati) and Andrea Iannone (Aprilia) were both retirements, as was LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami, who had crashed out of 12th place.

Race results

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Time
1 93 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 27
2 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 27 1.984
3 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 27 2.142
4 43 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 27 2.940
5 46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 27 3.053
6 44 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 27 5.935
7 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 27 7.187
8 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 27 8.439
9 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 27 9.853
10 42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 27 13.709
11 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo
Honda 27 15.003
12 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 27 29.512
13 5 France Johann Zarco
KTM 27 33.061
14 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin
KTM 27 35.481
15 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
KTM 27 36.044
16 36 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 26 42.448
30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 18
29 Italy Andrea Iannone
Aprilia 8
12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 6
63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 6
53 Spain Tito Rabat
Ducati 2
17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham
Ducati 5
The Le Mans MotoGP race as it happened

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Event French GP
Sub-event Race
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy