MotoGP 2020 Round 10 France

Marquez Scores First MotoGP Podium In His First Wet MotoGP Race

Le Mans, France, October 11, 2020

Report

MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) rode a remarkable race at rain-soaked Le Mans today to score his first podium in the premier class.

The reigning Moto2 World Champion showcased his talent on a treacherously slippery racetrack, charging through from 18th on the grid in his first wet-weather MotoGP race.

The conditions caught everyone by surprise. No rain had been forecast for race day and the rain only started falling as riders lined up on the grid, all of them equipped with slick tires. The start was delayed, then the race got underway with all riders using rain tires.

Marquez rode a stunning first lap, gaining eight positions to put himself in tenth place. The 24-year-old Spaniard was pushing hard, while also being careful to get a feel for the soaking track, which had six riders slide out of the 26-lap race. On lap four he moved into eighth place, then seventh three laps later. That put him behind fellow HRC rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V), who he finally put behind him at half-distance.

From there he had to bridge a two-second gap to fifth-placed Pol Espargaro. This is when Marquez was the fastest man on track, rapidly gaining on the three riders ahead of him: leader Danilo Petrucci, Alex Rins and Andrea Dovizioso.

The final laps were hectic. Rins fell with six laps to go which put Marquez third, just behind Dovizioso, who he passed with three laps to go. At the checkered flag he was 1.2 seconds behind winner Petrucci.

This is the second year in a row that Marquez performed brilliantly at le Mans – last year he won the Moto2 race at the track.

Coincidentally, older brother and reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) also had his first rain-affected MotoGP race at Le Mans in 2013, when he was the fastest man on track for a while, on his way to finishing third and winning that year’s world title. The elder Marquez was again absent this weekend as he continues his recovery from injuries sustained.

Crutchlow, who is still struggling with complications from recent surgery to his right arm, performed gallantly all weekend. The 34-year-old Briton had a brilliant Saturday, qualifying fourth fastest, a fraction of a second off the front row. He was strong today as well, until he slid out of seventh place with nine laps remaining.

Crutchlow’s exit made team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) Honda’s next best finisher in seventh place. This continued his amazing run of 2020 results: Nakagami is the only rider on the grid to have scored points in all nine races so far and all of them top-ten results. He now stands fifth in the championship.

The 28-year-old from Chiba started from 13th on the grid, after a complicated Saturday. Despite his lowly grid position his race pace during practice had been fast, so he had high hopes of a good result in the dry. He made good progress in the rain, moving steadily forward from 12th on the first lap to seventh at the finish, just four seconds away from the podium.

Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had a great ride to eighth place, which gave him his first points score since taking over Marquez’s machines at August’s Czech GP. The 30-year-old German and former Moto2 World Champion came through from 21st on the grid to take eighth place from current MotoGP points leader Fabio Quartararo on the final lap.

The HRC test rider’s result was especially impressive because he had missed the weekend’s only fully wet practice session – FP1 – after arriving late at Le Mans on Thursday evening following two busy days of testing at Portimao (Algarve International Circuit), where he helped the Repsol Honda Team prepare for November’s Portuguese GP.

Moto2 victory went to Sam Lowes (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), the 30-year-old Briton’s first success since he won the Moto2 race at Aragon in 2016. Lowes took the win after fellow Briton Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex) crashed out of the lead. Lowes beat second-placed Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex) by almost four seconds. The podium was completed by Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex).

Unusually, the Moto2 race was the last of the day. The rain that so affected the MotoGP race had gone, so the track was mostly dry, with riders using slick tires, but there were still many damp patches.

World championship leader Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) was still hurting from a big crash on Friday and finished out of the points in 17th, while his closest challenger Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) was 11th, which reduced Marini’s championship advantage to 15 points with five races to go.

Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had his best ride of the year so far, taking an excellent ninth-place finish. The 21-year-old Thai rider was 24th fastest in yesterday’s dry qualifying sessions and fought his way through from 22nd at the end of the opening lap. Chantra passed several riders per lap in the first half of the 25-lap race, then during the closing stages enjoyed a great battle with Bastianini and Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP Kalex). This was his first top ten since he took ninth place at his home GP last October.

Team-mate and Grand Prix rookie Andi Farid Izdihar (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) was out of luck. The 23-year-old Indonesian was in 17th place and aiming for his first GP points when he was pushed wide by another rider – this put him onto a damp part of the track where his slick tires couldn’t grip and he crashed.

Italian Moto3 star Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) came within 0.142 seconds of scoring his first victory of 2020 in the opening race of the day. The 20-year-old was part of a big leading group, within which there were constant changes of position and several tumbles.

Arbolino led the race on several occasions but started the final lap in third place. He did well to overtake championship leader Albert Arenas at Turn Two but try as he might he wasn’t quite able to find a way past Celestino Vietti.

Nonetheless the result did wonders for Arbolino’s title hopes, because he moved into fourth overall, just 20 points behind Arenas, with five races remaining.

Honda’s big star of the weekend was Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who started from pole position, led the first half of the race, then slipped back before returning to the front to dominate the closing stages. Sadly, halfway through the penultimate lap the 19-year-old Spaniard made one tiny mistake at Turn Eight. Moto3 is so close that three riders came past and he was unable to fight his way back into the top three before the checkered flag. He finished fourth, 0.138 seconds off the podium and 0.336 off the win.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was the next Honda man across the line, in eighth place. Jeremy Alcoba (Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) had also been in the lead group, until Alcoba fell five laps from the finish, taking McPhee with him. Neither was hurt.

Another faller was Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW). The 23-year-old from Chiba was making an impressive return from injury and was the fastest man on track when he slid off.

Today was a challenging day for World Championship hopeful Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who arrived at Le Mans leading the points chase. The cool weather and tricky grip conditions haven’t been easy for the 19-year-old from Tokyo who crashed during qualifying, putting him 17th on the grid. He didn’t get a great start and was 24th in the early stages, but step by step he moved forward, leading the second group in ninth place at the finish. The result puts him second overall, just six points behind Arenas.

World Championship rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) wanted his first points today but his hopes were spoiled by a poor first lap, which left him with too much work to do. His pace later in the race was better, putting him 20th at the finish, but the 17-year-old from Setagaya knows he needs to improve his speed from the start of the race.

Today’s action commenced the busiest period in MotoGP history, with six races over seven weekends to close the 2020 World Championship, postponed and shortened due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Next up are two races at Spain’s MotorLand Aragon, with next weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix and the following weekend’s Teruel Grand Prix.

The season concludes at Algarve International Circuit, with the Portuguese GP on November 22.

Comments

MotoGP

Alex Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“A great day. It wasn’t easy starting 18th on the grid but I was feeling really good on the bike. We lost some time fighting with Cal and Pol and Dovi but apart from this I did a good race and it’s a great result for the Repsol Honda Team. I want to say thank you to them for always believing in me and working so hard. Myself and the team never gave up. I felt good even in the dry warm-up this morning, so I think we have managed everything well. It’s been a great weekend and we go to Aragon for two more races. Now we just need to make this result in the dry!”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 7th
“It was such a difficult race. The rain came as we were preparing to start the race and after only a few minutes the track was fully wet, so we prepared my other bike to a wet set-up. The first thing is that we managed to finish and I’m so happy about that because conditions were so tricky. Another thing is that we had a good pace, especially towards the end of the race. We struggled more when there was less water on the track but we were faster and so close to the top group. By the last three laps the rear tire was overheating and spinning everywhere, so it wasn’t easy to keep my position. Another top ten and P7 is good, considering the conditions. I want to thank my team because our performance wasn’t so good all weekend but we were competitive in the race and now we are fifth in the championship and looking forward to two races at Aragon.”

Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda Team: 8th
“It’s a big relief to get this result today, I’m really happy with it. It’s been a busy year and it’s an important result for me and the Repsol Honda Team. The forecast didn’t predict this so after missing FP1 in the wet I was a little worried, honestly! But I said to myself to just try and enjoy the race and feel the bike. The team and I went with the medium tire, which was the right choice and the feeling improved as the race went on. Also a big congratulations to Alex on his podium, it’s a great result for him and the team as well.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: DNF
“Today we had a great start to the race and I was able to be in not such a bad position. I didn’t really want to lead the race, with how the conditions were and I really struggled in the first laps to get the heat I wanted into the tires to push as much as I wanted. But then I got into a rhythm and had a good pace, so at one point we were catching the leader. Unfortunately with nine laps to go I crashed at Turn Four, for the previous five laps I’d been struggling with the right side of the tire – I couldn’t lean the bike and when I leaned to turn the bike I crashed. It wasn’t a great result, but it was nice to be up there in the dry and the wet this weekend and now we look forward to going to Aragon.”

Moto2

Sam Lowes, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 1st
“I feel sorry for Jake – well done to him because he was riding good. It was easy to crash in those conditions, but I felt really good apart from when I locked the front at Turn Nine, when I hit a wet patch and was lucky to stay on. Jake had good pace, so I tried to keep a second gap to him, look after my front tire, and then I was going to push at the end of the race. Then he went down. I felt good all weekend – after podiums at the last two races I really wanted a win. It’s been a long time.”

Remy Gardner, ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team: 2nd
“It was a tricky race. We went out with wets for the sighting lap and I saw it was going to dry out so I told the guys to put slicks on. We went half and half with the settings because we didn’t have time to put a full dry setting. The first few laps were dodgy, but step by step and lap by lap it got better. Marco came past, so I sat there, then Fernandez got to us, then dropped back. The last few laps I was looking to see where I could get Marco. I saw I was stronger in the last two rights, so I shoved it in there on the last lap and made it stick. I’m extremely happy – it couldn’t have gone better.”

Marco Bezzecchi, Sky Racing Team VR46: 3rd
“I am happy with this third place but what a pity for the overtaking at the last corner. Today was a real lottery for everyone: we weren't expecting a wet race, instead it started raining immediately after the Moto3 race. I had a good start, I tried not to make mistakes, use my head and hit the maximum possible result without wasting anything.”

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 9th
“Unbelievable! I’m super happy! Before the race it rained a little bit, and the asphalt was not perfectly dry. After checking it on the warm-up lap we decided to race with slick tires. During the first laps it was complicated to manage, but I tried to stay calm. Despite that, the race was fun, fighting with the top-group riders. I want to thank the team for their confidence.”

Andi Farid Izdihar, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: DNF
“Today, I've lost the chance to score my first points, after struggling a lot during the weekend, with three crashes. During the race I had a good pace, and despite a not-perfect start, I was close to the group that scored points. When I was P17 another rider overtook me, pushing me off the dry line and into the wet zone. We were riding with slick tires, so I crashed. I cannot understand this type of action with 20 laps to go. A bit of bad luck again. Isn't easy for me but I will keep motivated for Aragon.”

Moto3

Tony Arbolino, Snipers Team: 2nd
“I’m happy, but I would be happier if I had won the race! We struggled a lot on Friday, but the team worked so hard to make improvements, always working into the night. The race was crazy, like always in Moto3 – there was, like, 11,000 overtakes! We are coming better step by step, so we need to keep working like this and keep motivated because there are not many races left. I will ride a better race in Aragon!”

Jaume Masia, Leopard Racing Honda: 4th
“Not finishing on the podium is of course a big disappointment after we led so much of the race. The pace was very strong as always and I did my best to make the pace myself. We will learn from this and come back stronger at Aragon – we are making steps and we know our first win with Honda is not far.”

Gabriel Rodrigo, Kommerling Gresini: 8th
“It was a quick-paced race and I must say I had a perfect bike, so I want to thank the team for this. At the beginning I had no problem in staying close to the lead, but then when tire wear kicked in, I was struggling under acceleration and I couldn’t even overtake under braking because it could have been dangerous. In any case, we scored some important points and now we are heading for a double-header in Aragon, on a track I like a lot and we are aiming at improving some more.”

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 9th
“Since Barcelona we’ve struggled to have a good rhythm on the track. The result of today is a good resume of the situation: starting 17th, I dropped to 24th and finished ninth, but we could not fight with the front riders. The feeling is coming little by little, and this weekend for me was better than Barcelona. But it is coming slowly, and we need to fight for the races again. We will try again in Aragon – I like the track. I'm not sure if I will be fast there or not, but I like it. We will try to be there again.”

Yuki Kunii, Honda Team Asia: 20th
“Again I made a mistake at the start – the first lap went a disaster for me and that conditioned the rest of the race. I tried to come back, and even making some mistakes, I had a good pace, similar to my best lap time of the weekend. That is the positive lesson of today. Also, I've seen this weekend that I can maintain the rhythm alone, something that I couldn't before. I should continue with this feeling in Aragon.”

Results

MotoGP

Rank Rider
1Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)
2Alex MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
4Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
5Johann ZARCO (Esponsorama Racing)
6Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
7Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
8Stefan BRADL (Repsol Honda Team)
9Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
10Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
11Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)
14Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
15Iker LECUONA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
RTAlex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
RTJack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
RTFranco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
RTCal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
RTTito RABAT (Esponsorama Racing)
RTBradley SMITH (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
RTValentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)

Moto2

Rank Rider
1Sam LOWES (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
2Remy GARDNER (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)
3Marco BEZZECCHI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
4Augusto FERNANDEZ (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
5Thomas LUTHI (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
6Joe ROBERTS (Tennor American Racing)
7Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
8Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
9Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
10Marcel SCHROTTER (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
11Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
12Hector GARZO (Flexbox HP 40)
13Marcos RAMIREZ (Tennor American Racing)
14Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
15Hafizh SYAHRIN (Inde Aspar Team Moto2)
16Simone CORSI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
17Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
18Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Italtrans Racing Team)
19Edgar PONS (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
20Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
21Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
22Piotr BIESIEKIRSKI(NTS RW Racing GP)
RTJake DIXON (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RTNicolo BULEGA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RTAndi IZDIHAR (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
RTXavi VIERGE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RTJorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RTKasma Daniel KASMAYUDIN (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)

Moto3

Rank Rider
1Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2Tony ARBOLINO (Rivacold Snipers Team)
3Albert ARENAS (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3)
4Jaume MASIA (Leopard Racing)
5Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
6Ayumu SASAKI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
7Raul FERNANDEZ (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8Gabriel RODRIGO (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
9Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
10Carlos TATAY (Reale Avintia Moto3)
11Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
12Filip SALAC (Rivacold Snipers Team)
13Dennis FOGGIA (Leopard Racing)
14Riccardo ROSSI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
15Stefano NEPA (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3)
16Barry BALTUS (CarXpert PruestelGP)
17Jason DUPASQUIER (CarXpert PruestelGP)
18Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
19Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
20Yuki KUNII (Honda Team Asia)
21Maximilian KOFLER (CIP Green Power)
22Deniz ONCU (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
RTNiccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RTJohn MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RTJeremy ALCOBA (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
RTKaito TOBA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RTDarryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
RTDavide PIZZOLI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
RTTatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RTRomano FENATI (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
RTAlonso LOPEZ (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)

Photos

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

 MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

 MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

 MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

 Moto3 Tony Arbolino

 Moto3 Tony Arbolino

 Moto3 Jaume Masia

 Moto3 Jaume Masia

 Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

 Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Sergio Garcia

 Moto3 Sergio Garcia

 Moto3 Filip Salac

 Moto3 Filip Salac

 Moto3 Dennis Foggia

 Moto3 Dennis Foggia

 Moto3 Yamanaka Ryusei

 Moto3 Yamanaka Ryusei

 Moto3 Khairul Idham Pawi

 Moto3 Khairul Idham Pawi

 Moto3 Yuki Kunii

 Moto3 Yuki Kunii

 Moto3 Niccolò Antonelli

 Moto3 Niccolò Antonelli

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

 Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

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