MotoGP: Martín edges duel with Bagnaia and Márquez to win at Le Mans

Jorge Martín of Pramac Racing, the MotoGP championship leader, won the French Grand Prix on Sunday to complete a weekend double while Gresini Ducati’s Marc Márquez finished second with a final-lap overtake of Francesco Bagnaia, the reigning champion, at Le Mans.

Bagnaia led for most of the race before Martín, having started on pole, regained the lead and powered to victory following an intense battle while Márquez, who started 13th on the grid, and finished on the podium once again after Saturday’s sprint.

Martín’s victory, after his sprint win, moved him up to 129 points, while Bagnaia is second, 38 points behind. Márquez’s consistency in the past two races moved him up to third in the standings, a further two points behind. “I’m really happy, thanks to my team because the bike set-up was perfect. Getting two wins in Le Mans was the perfect weekend,” Martín said.

Bagnaia had a terrible start in Saturday’s sprint when he dropped outside the top 10 before retiring, but the Ducati rider stormed into the lead on Sunday’s opening lap after overtaking Martín while Márquez made up five positions to sit eighth. Pedro Acosta attempted a risky overtake between Fabio Di Giannantonio and Aleix Espargaró but the rookie miscalculated and slid off the track three laps in – his first costly mistake in the premier class. VR46 Racing’s Marco Bezzecchi also had a weekend to forget when he crashed once again, just as he had in the sprint when he was running second.

His teammate Di Giannantonio finally managed to move up to third ahead of ,Maverick Viñales before Márquez also overtook the Aprilia rider to sit fourth, as the teams and riders kept an eye on the skies with dark clouds looming.

Groans echoed through the grandstands when the local hope Fabio Quartararo, aiming for his first top-six finish of the season, crashed his Yamaha with 11 laps to go. Márquez doggedly chased Di Giannantonio and, after failing to get past with a daring overtake on the Dunlop chicane, the Spaniard finally squeezed through to move up to third when the VR46 Racing rider went wide.

Bagnaia and Martín battled for top spot and swapped positions, losing pace as they did, which allowed Márquez to close the gap, but Martín finally found a way past the reigning champion. Bagnaia was the slowest of the three towards the end as Márquez got impatient but the six-time champion eventually elbowed his way past Bagnaia on the final lap to take second.

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It was a near-perfect weekend for Márquez, who went from 13th to second in the sprint as well as the race in what was Gresini’s 1,000th Grand Prix. “It was a really nice comeback,” Márquez said. “In the end I tried to overtake Pecco [Bagnaia] and he was braking super late but on the last lap – you know me – I tried and this time I had the line.”

The Guardian

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