Ah, Le Mans, site of the world’s most well known, and most notorious 24 Hour race, and the venue for the latest round of the MotoGP, on the shorter Bugatti track.
After crashing out at Jerez, Jack Miller was confronted by the man who he nearly took down with him, Aleix Espargaro, at the airport, who demanded and apology and said Miller deserved to crash for costing him a shot at 9th place.
Typical continentals innit.
Anyway, Saturday came around and the heavens opened up, and we do remember that the Jackass loves the tricky conditions, as he showed on that glorious day at Assen in 2016, and he went for it in Qualifying, managing to record his best qualifying performance in 2019, ending up in 3rd alongside the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci, and… shock horror, Marc Marquez.
Marquez equalled Rossi’s mark of 55 poles in 500cc class, just 2 off Mick Doohan’s mark of 57, which the Spaniard is well on course to shatter in approximately 3 races time.
On the warm-up lap, there was a bizzare incident, in which Joan Mir and Karel Abraham collided and took each other out.
Abraham tried restarting, but was ultimately disqualified as the leaders had completed Lap 1.
At the front, Marquez got off to a flyer, with Miller finding his way past Petrucci into 2nd, and soon did what so many have failed to do of late- Catch Marquez.
And in something that stunned the human race, Miller took the lead on Lap 5, the first time Marquez had been passed on track since Qatar in March, and in the process, Miller set the fastest lap.
Ultimately, it lasted all of two laps, as Marquez took the lead back on Lap 7, and it led to a brief but exciting exchange between the Pramac Ducati and the Honda, where Miller retook the lead, and Marquez then hit him straight back, which allowed Andrea Dovizioso back into the fight, with Valentino Rossi just sitting back and watching in 4th, but that was as close as he got, because the Yamaha just couldn’t find a way past the Ducatis, and Petrucci overtook the Doctor on Lap 13 for 4th.
It was a dog of a day for Yamaha, as Maverick Vinales was caught in the crossfire of a crash for Jack’s teammate Francesco Bagnaia.
With the brief Miller challenge ended, Marquez brained the field with ridiculous consistency, posting some 14 consecutive laps (8-21) inside the 1 minute 32 second range, which everyone else was trying to keep their head above water in the 1m 33s range.
With Jack’s rear tyres beginning to struggle, Dovi soon overtook the Aussie for 2nd on Lap 17, and on Lap 20, Petrucci joined the Ducati party and climbed into 3rd, demoting Miller to 4th.
Dovi and Petrucci then had a massive battle for 2nd and 3rd, which proved the highlight of the end to the race, and while it was the centre of attention for the TV cameras, Jack had the best seat in the house, but ultimately he just didn’t have the grip to seriously fight back, although he did have the speed to hold out Rossi behind him.
The end result- Marquez scored another convincing win, and brought up Honda’s 300th win in the Premier Class, with Dovi in for 2nd, and Dani Petriccui recording his first podium for the factory team, with Miller just a second back in 4th and ahead of Rossi in 5th.
The real ‘what-if’ turned out to be Fabio Quartararo in his home GP- He bogged down on the start from 10th on the grid, fell down the order, and ended up flying home to finish 8th, and recorded the fastest lap of the race in the process.
With a clean start, he may have been able to finally land on the podium.
All in all, a decent result for Jack.
Moto2- Another quiet day for Remy
The opening of the race was marred by a bad crash between the Italian compatriots Mattia Pasini and championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri.
Baldassarri fared the worse, suffering a concussion and a dislocated right shoulder.
After starting from 12th, Aussie Remy Gardner fought his way up to 6th in a good ride, but ultimately on Lap 13, he made a mistake and slid off, ending his chances of salvaging something from a quiet weekend, although it was a slightly better ending than that monster highside he had at Jerez.
In the end, Alex Marquez brought home the first leg of the Marquez double, recording his first win since Japan in 2017.
Another rough result for Remy, but he stays in 8th spot in the championship.
AND LASTLY, THIS PROBABLY SUMS UP HOW GOOD MARC MARQUEZ IS ON THAT HONDA- INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE.