The 2020 season was heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic and then when it did kick off again, not one race has gone by when jaws didn’t drop. The SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France was no different! A wet race at Le Mans saw Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) take the top spot. He finished 2.1 seconds ahead of Moto2 World Champion Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who delivered a wonderful ride to finish P2 having started from P18 on the grid. The final podium spot was taken by Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), followed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) finished P9 and lower.
The race was delayed due to the thick grey clouds over the track and tensions climbed in the time between the sighting lap and the race being declared wet, which made it a completely unfamiliar territory for two top riders – Quartararo and Mir. The riders could come at any time to swap to their dry-weather bikes.
Miller and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) had a lightning start but it was an early end for Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as he crashed at Turn 3. The front was soon a Ducati 1-2-3.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was battling with Quartararo and eventually found a way past, with the Frenchman dropping back down the order at a rate of knots. Crutchlow and Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) manoeuvred their way past Quartararo before Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) was through at Turn 13. Oliveira and Quartararo were wide though and shooting through was Alex Marquez, the Repsol Honda Team rider producing a stunning first opening few laps in his first wet MotoGP race to get into P8.
A quick Championship check with 18 laps to go saw Quartararo in P11 and Mir sitting P19, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) also outside the points – a golden opportunity for Dovizioso and Miller, as well as the rest to get themselves right back in the 2020 title hunt.
The rain was starting to fall again and now, fifth place Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the fastest man on track. The KTM star was 2.4 seconds behind Rins who in turn was 1.5 seconds off the Ducatis, with Espargaro then setting another fastest lap of the race, but it was only a couple of tenths quicker than race leader Petrucci.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) finished their first wet MotoGP™ races in P12 and P13, Aleix Espargaro and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completed the points. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) crashed out unhurt on Lap 17 at Turn 4, Smith and Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing) were other fallers at Le Mans.
1. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team)
2. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +1.273
3. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.711
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) +3.911
5. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +4.310
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) +4.466
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Indemitsu) +5.921
8. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) +15.597
9. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +16.687
10. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +16.895
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