MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez says his crash in practice ahead of the French Grand Prix allowed him to prevent a fall at the same corner en route to victory in the race.
Marquez suffered his only crash of the Le Mans weekend in the closing minutes of the third practice session, folding the front tyre on entry into the Dunlop Chicane.
He went accident-free for the rest of the weekend, but came close to tucking the front in the same way at the same corner halfway through the race – successfully using his elbow to keep the bike upright.
“On Turn 3 I had a moment, like FP3 [when] I crash there,” Marquez recalled. “And this crash helps me to save on the race.
“Because when I crash in Turn 3, since that moment, during all the race I was always careful there, and I was so stiff, my elbow was like a stick there.
“And when I lose the front, just I put the elbow and pick up the bike.”
Marquez was already in the lead when he had his Turn 3 save, but was running just a few tenths ahead of Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci – who said the Spaniard's moment was a brief glimmer of hope in the victory battle.
“I was behind Marc, I cannot say I was quite comfortable, but I was able to keep the gap, was not risking too much,” said Petrucci.
“In a moment I saw him lose the front at Turn 3, so I thought, oh, maybe he's in trouble - and he was so in trouble that a lap later he did the record lap.”
Petrucci was the main threat to Marquez's victory after crashes for Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco, and remained within a second-and-a-half of the reigning champion for much of the race before finally settling for second late on.
Marquez admitted it took him longer than expected to break away from the Pramac rider.
“I was pushing, and then when I start to see that [1m]32.3[s], [1m]32.4[s], I say 'okay, now he [Petrucci] will be slower'," he said.
“But then I saw that he keep [up], he was pushing - and I was not able to open a bigger gap.
“My target was to arrive to two seconds, 2.5, because then you can manage better, but he was there in one second, 1.1[s], 0.9[s], was difficult, but I keep going, going, going.
“And then last laps my tyre still was still consistent and maybe his tyre drop a little bit, and I was able to open a bigger gap.”