Lorenzo beats Rossi and Ducatis at Le Mans

Jorge Lorenzo demolished the field in the MotoGP race at Le Mans, the factory Yamaha rider leading from start to finish to take an emphatic second successive win.

Behind Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi gave the Yamaha Factory Racing team another one-two as the seven-time champion sliced his way through the field from the third row of the grid to extend a podium run dating back to last year’s Japanese GP at Motegi.

Andrea Dovizioso secured the final step on the podium after a strong race, battling with Lorenzo early on and holding on to Rossi’s coat tails for the remainder of the race. 

"I had a very good start, overtaking Dovizioso around the outside, and then I made a one second gap," said Lorenzo. "When I saw Rossi was up to second and he was very quick, I had to push to the maximum and change my riding style a little bit."

Lorenzo wasted no time in moving into the lead on the opening lap, while Marquez was dropped to fourth after Andrea Iannone forced the Spaniard wide after nearly hitting Lorenzo’s rear wheel.

Marquez tried to recover at the chicane, but overshot and was lucky to retain fourth. Meantime, Rossi was up to fifth within a few turns.

While Lorenzo continued to stretch his lead, with Dovizioso doing his best to stay with him, Rossi was the man on the move. After dispatching Marquez, he then put the hammer down to pass Iannone and then Dovizioso before attempting to catch Lorenzo.

"We suffered a lot in practice because I wasn't able to ride the bike at the limit," explained Rossi, "but we did something very different [with the set-up] for the race.

"I needed three or four laps to understand it, and after that I had good pace, but when I arrived behind Jorge he was too fast."

Marquez was way off the frontrunners nearing the final phase of the race, with the factory Honda rider fighting hard with Iannone for fourth place for the closing laps – a position the reigning champion would just hold on to.

Tech 3's Bradley Smith scored sixth place, taking a watching brief behind the battle for fourth. He finished in front of teammate Pol Espargaro.

Yonny Hernandez secured eighth for the Pramac Racing team, ahead of Maverick Vinales on the factory Suzuki and the second Pramac machine of Danilo Petrucci in 10th. Nicky Hayden enjoyed a return to form to take the Open Class victory for the Aspar team in 11th.

Dani Pedrosa’s return to action didn’t go to plan as he crashed out of seventh place on the second lap, rejoining way down the field and finishing out of the points in 16th. The opening laps also saw Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro retiring with a suspected mechanical fault.

The Bugatti circuit’s notoriously tricky La Chapelle corner also claimed the remaining two British riders. Scott Redding fell from his Marc VDS machine, and was then followed by LCR rider Cal Crutchlow who was battling for fifth when he fell.

There was also disaster for Crutchlow’s teammate Jack Miller, who lost the front-end of his LCR Honda machine shortly after while battling Hayden for Open class honours.

Race results:

Pos Rider  Bike   Time   Gap
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 43m44.143  
Valentino Rossi Yamaha 43m47.963 3.820
Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 43m56.523 12.380
Marc Marquez Honda 44m04.033 19.890
Andrea Iannone Ducati 44m04.380 20.237
Bradley Smith Yamaha 44m05.288 21.145
Pol Espargaro Yamaha 44m19.636 35.493
Yonny Hernandez Ducati 44m23.744 39.601
Maverick Vinales Suzuki 44m25.714 41.571
10  Danilo Petrucci Ducati 44m26.932 42.789
11  Nicky Hayden Honda 44m37.779 53.636
12  Loris Baz Yamaha Forward 44m44.760 1m00.617
13  Hector Barbera Ducati 44m48.415 1m04.272
14  Eugene Laverty Honda 44m49.402 1m05.259
15  Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 44m49.658 1m05.515
16  Dani Pedrosa Honda 45m05.050 1m20.907
17  Alex de Angelis ART 45m05.806 1m21.663
18  Marco Melandri Aprilia 44m22.904 1 Lap
Jack Miller Honda  
Karel Abraham Honda  
Cal Crutchlow Honda  
Scott Redding Honda  
Mike Di Meglio Ducati  
Aleix Espargaro Suzuki  
Stefan Bradl Yamaha Forward  

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event French GP
Track Le Mans Circuit Bugatti
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Bradley Smith , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Cal Crutchlow , Marc Marquez , Yonny Hernandez , Danilo Petrucci , Pol Espargaro , Maverick Viñales
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Article type Race report
Tags le mans