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.
|12||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||44m44.760||1m00.617|
|17||Alex de Angelis||ART||45m05.806||1m21.663|
|18||Marco Melandri||Aprilia||44m22.904||1 Lap|
|R||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||–|
|R||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||–|