Photo: Honda Racing
CIRCUIT LE MANS, Le Mans, France – Yamaha’s 500th GP victory came at the famous Le Mans track, the credit for the victory going to new signing Maverick Vińales,. The young Spaniard held off a serious charge from team-mate Valentino Rossi who crashed on the last lap trying to grab the win.
Second was another Yamaha, the Tech 3 satellite bike of the amazing Johann Zarco. The French newcomer to the Moto GP paddock led much of his home race (to the hysterical delight of the crowd), eventually falling victim to surgical passes from Vińales and Rossi, but gathering his first Moto GP podium.
Third went to a resurgent Dani Pedrosa, taking his Repsol Honda to a lucky podium (thanks to Rossi’s rare mistake). Nevertheless, the luck was largely due to his superb race pace, charging from 13th on the grid to collect the final grid spot.
He was certainly helped by his team-mate Marc Marquez crashing out of contention, but no credit is to be denied to his excellent race. There were admittedly an abnormal number of retirements, mostly due to mechanical issues, and largely in the Ducati satellite teams. Again, that was very unusual.
The top five was completed by Andrea Dovizioso (factory Ducati) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), the two former team-mates having an excellent scrap for most of the race. Behind them came Jorge Lorenzo (factory Ducati), Jonas Folger (Tech 3 Yamaha), Jack Miller (Estrella-Galicia Marc VDS Honda), Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati), and Andrea Ianonne (factory Suzuki).
Although Swiss Tom Luthi dominated practice and qualifying, in the end the win went to Franco Morbidelli, taking his fourth win out of five races. Pecco Bagnaia (like Morbidelli, a graduate of Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Academy) collected second, while Luthi held on to grab third. The result leaves Morbidelli with a good lead over Luthi and his team-mate Alex Marquez (who could only manage fourth today after suffering a big practice crash.
A huge accident in the early part of the Moto 3 race due to oil on the track, led to a restart and a serious mix-up in the racing results. In the end, however, despite the usual hockey playoff-like argy-bargy, Spaniard Joan Mir grabbed the win and retained his championship lead.
Aron Canet followed him home, moving up to third in the championship chase, while Scot John McPhee recovered from a terrible qualifying to collect a 12th in the race and move into fifth in the championship.
World Championship Standings after five of 18 races
- Maverick Vinales, Spain, Movistar Yamaha, 85 points
- Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 68
- Valentino Rossi, Italy, Movistar Yamaha, 62
- Marc Marquez, Spain, Repsol Honda, 58
- Johann Zarco, France, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, 55
- Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Ducati Team, 54
- Cal Crutchlow, U.K., LCR Honda, 40
- TIE, Jonas Folger, Germany, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha / Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team, 38
- Jack Miller, Australia, Estrella-Galica 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, 29
Next race, June 4, Mugello, Italy