The MotoGP world championship rolled into France for the fifth round of the championship. All eyes landed on Johann Zarco, as he set his eyes on his first MotoGP victory in front of his home crowd.
But it was Maverick Vinales who had qualified in pole position, ahead of team mate Valentino Rossi and Frenchman Zarco.
As the lights turned green, Maverick managed to hold up his pole position and lead into the first corner, but Zarco slipped in front by the time they had reached T2 and he set his sights on extending his lead.
Fast forward to 11 laps to go and Marc Marquez went down at T3, just as he looked as if he was closing in on Rossi. But Marquez wasn’t the only one who didn’t make it to the end. Alvaro Bautista had been looking relatively strong this weekend but unfortunately didn’t even make it to the end of the first lap! The likes of Danilo Petrucci, Scott Redding, Aleix Espargaro and Hector Barbera were all forced to retire – not a good weekend for the satellite Ducati’s.
But the most shocking crash of the weekend was that of Rossi. With just 6 laps to go he made the move on Zarco who had dropped into second, and was chasing down Maverick who had begun to break away. With 3 laps to go Rossi was ready to challenge and was looking to take his first victory in France since 2008. He managed to take the lead, but on the last lap he ran severely wide and allowed Vinales through. Rossi had to push to try and get close enough to make another move, but ended up losing the rear and spinning out of the race, demolishing his chance of victory.
In the end, Vinales took the win, from Zarco and Dani Pedrosa.
Moto2 really wasn’t much to write home about. Franco Morbidelli was looking to add a fourth win to his 2017 belt and he did exactly that, without having to put up much of a fight. Towards the end, Moto2 rookie Francesco Bagnaia was slowly creeping up on Franky but couldn’t get close enough.
Alex Marquez was riding in a solid 3rd position, until his feathers were rustled by Thomas Luthi. Marquez managed to keep Luthi at bay for a while, but once the Swiss was past there was no stopping him and he effortlessly rounded out the podium.
Moto3 was where the action was really at.
We hadn’t even made it to the end of the first lap when there was a nasty looking crash involving Adam Norrodin, Tatsuki Suzuki, Jakub Kornfeil and Lorenzo Dalla Porta. All appeared to be up and okay, with some even rejoining. It was only one lap later when around 15 of the grid went down at the same corner in a spectacular fashion. Of course, the red flag had to come out as there appeared to be oil spilt on the corner. All riders were cleared to race, and it was only Adam Norrodin who didn’t make it out on time to restart the 16 lap race.
Onto the restart, and Romano Fenati was the man to watch. He led with ease until 9 laps to go where he lost the front and slid out at T7, practically handing the lead to championship leader Joan Mir.
The battle was behind him, but it was Fabio Di Giannantonio, Ramirez and Canet who really looked to be the strongest. After an intense battle, it was Canet who secured 2nd followed by Di Giannantonio in third.
This weekend has not only proved that racing can be unpredictable, but has also proved how strong the motorcycle community can be. Tributes to Nicky Hayden poured in throughout the weekend as we wait to hear more news. We wish Nicky the best, and we hope to hear some good news soon.
MotoGP heads to Mugello in two weeks time for round 6 of the championship.
MotoGP results (top 5):
Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 43:29.793
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 3.134s
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team + 7.717s
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team + 11.223s
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda + 13.519s
Moto2 results (top 5):
Franco Morbidelli, E G 0,0 Marc VDS – 42:17.557s
Francesco Bagnaia, SKY Racing Team VR46 + 1.714s
Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten + 5.837s
Alex Marquez, E G 0,0 Marc VDS + 6.212s
Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team + 13.537s
Moto3 results (top 5):
Joan Mir, Leopard Racing – 27:37.830s
Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0 + 4.252s
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3 + 4.365s
Marcos Ramirez, Platinum Bay Real Estate + 4.469s
Juanfran Guevara, RBA Boe Racing Team + 4.845s