MotoGP

MotoGP: Dovi on pole in Japan

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Ducati Andrea Dovizioso powered to a scintillating pole position in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held tomorrow at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

The Italian, who had also been quickest in the morning’s FP3 run, then went out in Q2, in which he set a time of 1’44.590 on his second exit. Today’s pole is the second of the season for Dovizioso, his seventh in MotoGP and also the seventh pole of the 2018 season for Ducati.

Dovi said: “My qualifying session went very well and I’m happy with the feeling I had during my pole run. We’ve got a good pace, but so has Marquez and not only him. I think we still have to improve something if we want to fight for the win tomorrow, so we’ll analyse the data to see what the tyre wear is like, because probably we’ll be able to adopt a different strategy than in the last two races, where we had to save the tyre for the final few laps. We went strongly both with the soft and the medium, and we haven’t decided yet which one to use. I want to thank my team for their great job, because with a few small modifications we were able to make a big improvement and in qualifying I did a really great lap. This morning my aim was to set a time of 1’44.6 and I ended up lapping in 1’44.5!”

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MotoGP: Marquez snatches victory in Thailand

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It was another master-class race for Championship leader Marc Marquez, who took the first MotoGP win ever in Thailand in front of a cheering, enthusiast crowd of more than 100.000 spectators. The Spaniard’s seventh victory of the season is also the 68th of his career, putting him equal with Jorge Lorenzo as the fifth-most winning rider across all classes. It was a hat-trick weekend for the Repsol Honda pilot, who earned pole position, set the lap record and earned the victory.

Marquez’s win came down to the last corner of the last lap, thanks to a thrilling battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso. The points scenario makes the next round, the Grand Prix of Japan, the first match point for the MotoGP Title.

Speaking after the race, Marquez said: “Of course I’m very, very happy today because it’s the first time I’ve beaten Dovi in this way. We were very equal, and my strategy was to try and attack in order to open a gap and avoid having it come down to the last lap. But Dovi had a very good pace and I was struggling with the front tyre, so I wasn’t able. Instead, I just tried to manage the tyres and stick to him. Honestly, I wasn’t so confident going into the final lap because I’ve lost many head-to-head finishes with him in the past. But this time, we swapped roles—I used Dovi’s style and Dovi used Marquez’s style!—and that worked to overtake him on the corner exit.”

MotoGP: Marc Marquez snatches victory in scintillating Aragon race

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez demonstrated his cunning and racecraft in an intense MotoGP race at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain, taking victory ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso after a hard fought battle between the title rivals.

Temperatures soared to their highest point of the weekend as the riders lined up on the grid, causing many teams to make last minute changes to their chosen selection of race rubber, in readiness to combat the heat.

As the race began the track thermometer was reading 45°C – higher than it has ever been at the Aragón circuit for a MotoGP event – and following all the changes, five of the six allocated tyre compounds were now featured in different combinations throughout the field.

Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo was on pole after an exciting qualifying session on Saturday, which saw him take the first grid spot in the very last moment of the session. However, the Spaniard’ race was short-lived as he crashed out on the first corner after a late lunge by Marquez forced Lorenzo onto the dirty part of the track. Lorenzo had two choices; run wide and lose places, or force the bike to take the line he wanted. The Spaniard chose the latter, was too greedy with the gas and highsided out of the race.

This immediately handed the lead to his Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, a position he held for the next 13-laps, before coming under pressure from Marquez.

The pair then duelled out the remaining 10-laps of the 23-lap race, with the lead frequently changing hands as they pushed their tyres to the limit on a track that now had diminished grip levels due to the increased heat.

Marquez was using a hard front and soft rear pairing, while Dovizioso had gone for a hard/hard combination and the two battled it out for the final laps, and it was Marquez who had more rubber left, pulling out a slender lead to cross the line first, ahead of Dovizioso and Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone.

Marquez said: “I woke up this morning with the idea that today I could take a risk. I hadn’t felt totally at ease during the weekend with the hard rear spec tyre so, after the warm-up, I said to my team that I wanted to use the soft rear. That started many meetings and discussions but in the end I won the race because I could convince my box to take that gamble! In the end, it was the correct choice. I had a good start but soon after I almost lost the front in a dirty spot on the track, so I had to release the brakes and go a bit wide. I didn’t realize until the end that Lorenzo had crashed.

“Anyway, the fight was very tight with Dovi and Iannone as well; it was a hard fight but within the limit. This is MotoGP, and it’s what the fans enjoy to watch. Motorland is one of my favourite tracks, and I enjoyed so much riding here over the weekend even if the pressure was high, with events, people, and many things to do every day. I mean, it’s good but also demanding. Even with this, I managed to remain focused, work well with the team, and ultimately to stop Ducati’s momentum. This morning I listened to “In my feelings” from Drake and in the honour lap I thought back to that song and it was great. Anyway, now more than ever it’s the moment to keep calm and manage well the race weekends because I want to win the Championship and to do that you must remain fully concentrated.”

 

MOTOGP: Dovi reigns supreme in Misano

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Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took an expertly-crafted victory at the San Marino Grand Prix, fighting his way into the lead and unleashing incredible pace to secure only the second ever win for Ducati at the venue.

His win also makes it three in a row for the Borgo Panigale factory, having won at Brno and Austria.

It was polesitter JorgeLorenzo who shot out ahead and got the holeshot on his Ducati, shadowed by Jack Miller on the satellite Pramac Racing Ducati and Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda.

However, Dovizioso struck quickly against the reigning champion, dispatching Marquez before picking off Miller, pushing hard to tag on to the back of his teammate as Marquez then sliced past the Aussie too – intent on keeping tabs on the Ducati duo at the front.

Unfortunately, the pace was too much for Miller, and he slid out a lap later at Turn 14.

Back at the front, Dovizioso was honing in on Lorenzo and looking to make a move. With 22 laps to go the Italian did just that, slicing past at Turn 7. He then began to pull away as Marquez tagged on to Lorenzo in the battle for second, before the number 93 then shot past with 14 laps to go as Lorenzo ran wide.

Lorenzo wasn’t done though and retook the position a few laps later at Turn 8, a move which lit the touch paper on a few spectacular exchanges between the two. Once past, Lorenzo put the hammer down and Lorenzo set about cutting the gap to his teammate. Tenth by tenth, the Spaniard was reeling him in – and the gap went back down to 1.3 seconds. Dovizioso began to respond, but drama suddenly hit the front on the penultimate lap when Lorenzo suddenly slid out of second.

That Dovizioso in free air at the front to take his first ever win at the venue, having managed the race to perfection. Marquez took second and extended his championship lead, with Crutchlow’s impressive pace and race rewarded by a podium after the late drama.

Dovizioso said: “I wanted this win so badly, because here at Misano Ducati and I have always struggled in recent years. In the test in August however we realised that we had made an important step forward and we could be competitive in the race. We worked really well during the weekend, in very different conditions, but both Lorenzo and Marquexz are very strong here so to win I had to do a perfect race. I started off in the right frame of mind, fully focussed on the race strategy, and when I took the lead, I pulled out a small advantage and then managed the situation until the finish.

“I’m really pleased, because winning here at Misano was very important for Ducati but also for me. Years ago it seemed like an impossible dream, but now we’ve done it and it fills me with so much satisfaction.”

Outside of the podium places Suzuki’s Alex Rins impressed on the softer compound rear tyre to get well in the initial fight and then hold great pace to the flag, not able to stay ahead of Crutchlow but nevertheless holding station in the top five until Lorenzo’s late crash saw him take fourth.

Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales took fifth after dropping back slightly from a front row start and suffering a more difficult race, holding off some steady pressure from Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who took sixth.

It was a difficult Sunday at home for Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Missing the race through injury last season – as his special edition ‘Back to Misano’ helmet attests – Rossi had high hopes for the race that takes place so close to his home town of Tavullia. He crossed the line in seventh, retaining his qualifying position as he took the flag. Compatriot Andrea Iannone, also had a tough weekend, and came home eighth on his Suzuki.

Alvaro Bautista continued his good run of recent form and took ninth on his angel nieto Ducati, with Tech 3’s Johann Zarco completing the top ten ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the second Pramac Ducati; Petrucci had a difficult race day and was also given a 1.1 second penalty for cutting a corner early on.

Franco Morbidelli on the Marc VDS Honda beat Takaaki Nakagami on the LCR Honda to claim the honour of top rookie and twelfth, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro taking points for the Noale factory on home turf in fourteenth, just ahead of Ducati Test Team wildcard Michele Pirro.

Behind them? Lorenzo had remounted and dueled  with KTM’s Bradley Smith to the line, but the Brit was just able to stay ahead by a tenth.

MotoGP – Marquez still the king of the ring after another German win

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has re-written another piece of MotoGP history by storming from a ninth pole in a row at the Sachsenring to take his ninth win in a row across all classes. Championship rival Valentino Rossi took second on the factory Yamaha and maintains his second place in the standings, with the Yamaha team-mate Maveric Viñales taking third.

As the lights went out it was Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo who got the holeshot, moving from third into the lead as Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci slotted into second – with Marquez shuffled back into third. Rossi made a good start from sixth to move into fourth ahead of teammate Viñales, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso the key man to lose out from fifth.

Once at the front, Lorenzo set about putting the hammer down, making it the sixth race in succession the Mallorcan has led. It didn’t take too long for Marquez to make his way through the pack and catch his compatriot, however, and a game of cat and mouse began at the front as Marquez reeled in Lorenzo.

Meanwhile Rossi attacked Petrucci for third and moved through, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow crashing out at Turn 12.

Lorenzo was holding firm at the front, but Marquez then chose his moment and struck to take over the lead, with Lorenzo struggling to turn the Ducati in and dropping back into Lorenzo’s clutches.

Rossi pounced quickly, and once past, the rider from Tavullia put the hammer down in a bid to claw back some time to Marquez, but it wasn’t to be. The number 93 pulled the pin with perfect timing, with enough grip left to see him make a gap and keep it until crossing the line for stunning ninth win in a row at the Sachsenring – and all from pole.

Rossi was then safe in second for another podium finish, but teammate Viñales left it late to complete the rostrum. First Petrucci was the man pushing to pass a Lorenzo struggling with grip, before Viñales arrived on the scene and attacked the Mallorcan and then the Italian to take third and a second successive podium.

Petrucci claimed a well-fought fourth, just ahead of Alvaro Bautista on the Angel Nieto Ducati; Bautista was the fastest man on track for a good number of laps and kept that incredible form to the end, the final man able to muscle past Lorenzo by the flag.

Lorenzo took sixth ahead of a tough day for teammate Andrea Dovizioso, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa putting in a solid ride to eighth. Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco improved from his worst qualifying of the season so far to take ninth despite the difficult weekend, with an incredible ride from KTM’s Bradley Smith putting the Brit in tenth to take KTM’s first top ten of the season.

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin was top rookie in eleventh and takes over at the top of the Rookie of the Year standings, ahead of Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone, who was caught up in an early incident that saw KTM’s Pol Espargaro make contact with Suzuki’s Alex Rins and both riders go down.

Tito Rabat finished thirteenth, ahead of Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller in fourteenth and Aprilia’s Scott Redding in fifteenth.

 

 

 

 

MotoGP– sensational showdown at the Cathedral of Speed sees Marquez take top honours

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Assen was the venue for a sensational battle royale as eight riders duked it out for the win in one of the most incredible MotoGp races of all time at Assen.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez emerged from the melee to take the win on premier racing’s 70th visit to the track, but the headlines were stolen by the close racing as Marquez battled with Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, Ducati factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, Suzuki’s Alex Rins and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.

It was Marquez who took the holeshot from pole, with Crutchlow initially on his tail from second on the grid until Lorenzo sliced through from tenth to P2 after another awe-inspiring launch.

The Italian and Catalan GP winner didn’t wait long to strike for the lead either, attacking Marquez with the the two riders locked side-by-side in a war of wills until Lorenzo edged ahead.

Marquez hit back a lap later at Turn 15, before Lorenzo repaid the favour once more. The duel was the first of many; an early taste of what was to come.

Rossi then made his first attack of the race at the final chicane, a first rehearsal, and set off after Lorenzo – with the Spaniard missing a gear soon after and Rossi smashing into the rear of the Ducati, unable to avoid him. Incredibly, both riders stayed on and retaining their track position, with Marquez, Dovizioso, Rins, Crutchlow and Viñales forming a train of riders fighting at the front.

Marquez took Rossi, Viñales took Crutchlow, Dovizioso took Rossi, Dovizioso took Marquez, Marquez struck back, Rins took Rossi and then Dovizioso…but Lorenzo held firm at the front. With eight riders within a second, from Lorenzo down to Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha at the back of the train, the touch paper was well and truly lit on an absolute classic.

The war continued before another bout of bigger drama with 15 laps to go as Rins attacked Marquez and the two made contact, with the reigning champion suffering a big moment as he got back on the gas. That dropped him back off the lead, with Lorenzo chased by Rins and Dovizioso.

The Italian fought his teammate for the lead soon after and Lorenzo began to drop back slightly, with Viñales then taking the lead for the first time with just eight laps to go.

Next time around Marquez had sliced back through into the lead, before the next lap saw both almost throw it all away as they both ran wide.

It was then Rossi’s turn to shine with a clinical move at the final chicane, but he couldn’t make it stick and Dovizioso immediately struck back..

A four-way tussle for the front saw no inch given by any of the riders, before Marquez pulled the pin to make his way back into P1…and once past he managed the gap to take a stunning win; his fourth of the season.

The battle behind wasn’t over, however, and Viñales had pushed through to second before a last lap attack from Rins – with the Suzuki rider taking his second ever premier class rostrum. Viñales was forced to settle for third , his first time back on the podium since Texas.

The fight for fourth was equally intense and showed why Rossi had been rehearsing; the ‘Doctor’ left it late but lunged up the inside of Dovizioso into the famous Geert Timmer chicane on the final lap, and he was ahead – but the Ducati pilot took him back on the exit, gaining such good drive that the had almost caught Viñales over the line.

Marquez, Rins, Viñales, Dovizioso and Rossi were followed home by Crutchlow and Lorenzo, with Zarco, Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) and Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller completing the top ten in one of the greatest races contested on two wheels.

Speaking after the race, Marquez said: “It was a crazy race, full of adrenaline—this feeling is one of the reasons we do this sport. I was expecting something like this before the race, but nothing like it actually was. We were a wild bunch, everyone fighting against everyone; I think all of us made contact with somebody else at some point. We had to attack and defend, attack and defend. We had so many ‘big moments’ and risked crashing.
“It was crazy out there and impossible to define the best strategy, so eventually I decided to just fight and see what we could do in the end. In the last three laps, I gave it everything, no matter the tyres, no matter the amount of championship points available.

“I had been trying to reduce the group because when you’re fighting for the title, you just want the fewest riders possible at the front, but it was difficult. Only when I saw I had more than one and a half seconds of advantage before the last lap did I think, Okay, we’ve got it, let’s just finish this lap.

“It was an important win and 25 very important points, but we need to keep going, keep pushing, and keep this same level.”

MotoGP – Lorenzo in, Pedrosa out at Repsol Honda

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Big changes are afoot at the factory Honda squad after it has emerged that Jorge Lorenzo will replace the outgoing Dani Pedrosa, who is leaving the Repsol team after 18 years with HRC and Honda.

Lorenzo has penned a two-year deal which will see the three-time MotoGP world champion join Marc Marquez in the factory Honda team.

In a terse statement after his maiden win on the Ducati at Mugello, Lorenzo accused the Italian factory of not doing enough to give him a bike to win, publicly slating their lack of support and development.

Many paddock insiders saw this as a sign he was heading to a satellite Yamaha effort, but Lorenzo’s leftfield jump to Honda has caused shockwaves in the paddock.

The move means Honda now has its very own dream team; the two riders share a total of 11 Championships, 130 victories and 255 podiums between them, many of which have been fought against each other. The two are also the only riders to have been crowned MotoGP world champion since 2011 – Lorenzo in 2012 and 2015, adding to his first premier class crown taken in 2010, and Marquez in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Lorenzo is now a rider who has two wins for two different manufacturers, and he will be keen to add a win on a third to prove the many doubters who have written him off wrong.

But, how will Honda manage the relationship between Marquez and Lorenzo, both of whom are convinced they are the best rider in the world? The job of handling two of the biggest egos in the paddock will fall to Alberto Puig, a man who is also known his the size of his ego. Expect fireworks to fly…

What is clear is that HRC now has two of the most successful riders of recent times in its factory team. How they get along, or don’t, will determine whether the team continues its stranglehold on the title.

Watch this space…2019 will be explosive….

MotoGP 2019 silly season starts now

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So, the silly season is well and truly underway in MotoGP, with many top riders facing the real risk of being left out in the cold for the 2019 season.

With Marc Marquez extending his stay with the Repsol Honda team, Andrea Dovizioso doing the same with Ducati, Alex Rins committing to Suzuki and the KTM and Yamaha factories already agreeing contracts for the rider line-up for next season, there is the real possibility that some of the best riders in the series won ‘t be lining up on the grid in the future.

Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo is arguably the rider who dictates what will happen to the others. With his time at Ducati punctuated by a large number of poor performances, team bosses are becoming increasingly frustrated with Lorenzo’s lack of result, especially considering his large salary. The smart money is on Lorenzo being pushed out in favour of Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci or Jack Miller. But Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone’s recent form has also impressed, and don’t be surprised to see him back in red.

So, where would Lorenzo go? And who would have him? Suzuki seems like the obvious destination. The bike would suit Lorenzo’s smooth riding style, and with the team looking likely to attract Monster as a main sponsor, the funding would be in place to secure Lorenzo’s services.

However, the Japanese manufacturer is also rumoured to be seriously considering making an approach for WSBK three-time champion Jonny Rea. Rea has always had blistering pace, and when he filled in for Casey Stoner on the Repsol Honda, he piloted the bike to a couple of strong finishes.

So, if Rea does sign, where does that leave Lorenzo? There are no other factory bikes available, apart from the Repsol Honda. But would the manufacturer really want Lorenzo alongside Marquez.

And what of Repsol Honda’s long -time servant Dani Pedrosa? The Spaniard has an incredible record in MotoGP, winning a race in every season he has competed. But the word from the paddock is that this season will be his last in the orange and white Repsol colours.

Moto2 sensation Joan Mir is the outside bet to take Pedrosa’s seat, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow also mooted for the ride. The Brit looked to be in pole position to make the switch at the start of the season, with Honda bosses impressed with his work ethos and development skills. But a series of crashes in recent races have made bosses think twice abut his ability to be a No2 Factory rider.

So, where would Pedrosa go? He’s a proven winner, and a proven development rider, and would be an attractive option for Suzuki or whichever team runs the satellite Yamahas once the agreement with Tech 3 comes to an end.

Other riders looking for a ride are KTM’s Bradley Smith, who has been forced out after a series of disappointing races stretching back to last season, with Aprilia’s Scott Redding also believed to be under threat after failing to get to grips with the bike since his move from the Pramac Ducati.

The first piece of the jigsaw is expected to fall into place at Mugello, when Jorge Lorenzo announces his intentions. What this space…

MotoGP – masterful Marquez makes it three in a row at Le Mans

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Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took a record-breaking victory at the Grand Prix de France, which sees the reigning world champion equal Casey Stoner’s 38 premier class wins – and surpass Mike Hailwood’s win record.

Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was a superb second to take his first podium of the season – and from the front row – with Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha returning to the rostrum in third place.

Sadly, however, the French fairytale wasn’t to be for Tech 3’s Johann Zarco as the home hero crashed out at Turn 8 on lap eight after re-passing Marquez for second in the fight at the front.

Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone was another rider to crash, falling out of contention on lap one at la Chapelle after making a good start. In yet more drama for the standings, championship contender Andrea Dovizioso  made a rare error on his Ducati at the same corner four laps later, making Le Mans another pivotal race in the Championship.

At the start, it was Ducatis’ Jorge Lorenzo who got the holeshot from the second row, repeating his incredible launch of the Spanish GP to take off in the lead – and hold onto it. Zarco dropped from pole but then struck back almost immediately into the chicane to take second, with Petrucci, Dovizioso, Marquez and Rossi all close at the front until Iannone crashed out – leaving a gap back to Marquez as the two Ducatis and Zarco stayed close together at the front.

The Frenchman then headed slightly wide and Dovizioso struck, honing in on teammate Lorenzo in the lead and not leaving long before trying an attack. Getting the job done quickly, it seemed the Italian was then going to unleash his pace shown in practice – but he suddenly slid out of the lead and into the gravel, leaving the number 99 of Lorenzo’s Ducati out front.

Zarco and Marquez closed in before the reigning champion shot past the Frenchman for second – but Zarco, in signature style, was quick to respond. The second bolt of drama was about to hit the race, however, as the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider then slid off at Turn 8 – leaving Marquez vs Lorenzo in the lead.

On Lap 10, the number 93 made his move before Petrucci followed the Honda rider through a lap later. Rossi and Miller soon carved their way past the five-time world champion, who started the race on softer rubber, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa waiting in the wings.

The gap between Marquez, Petrucci, Rossi and Miller stayed consistent, with all four exchanging quickest laps. That was until Marquez pulled the pin on Lap 16, setting the fastest lap of the race to bridge to gap to a second over the chasing GP18. From there, Marquez was able to stretch the gap tenth by tenth, with Petrucci also keeping Rossi at bay. Pedrosa was later able to pass Lorenzo for fifth, with the Ducati rider having to settle for sixth.

Further down the order, after failing to get the start he was looking for, last year’s winner Maverick Viñales  made his way back up to seventh on the factory Yamaha after being outside the top ten for the first half of the race. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro had a great ride, holding onto eighth until the last lap but then coming home ninth. Passing him on the last lap was a superhuman Cal Crutchlow, who had a magnificent ride battling his LCR Honda to P8 from 13th on the grid – riding through the pain barrier after a huge highside on Saturday.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins battled with Viñales and Espargaro throughout the race, eventually rounding out the top ten in his first ride at the track in the premier class, having missed the event in 2017 due to injury. KTM’s Pol Espargaro picked up another solid result in P11 for some more good points for KTM, with Bradley Smith adding to the total in P14. Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin eventually got the better of Franco Morbidelli on the Marc VDS Honda to finish as top rookie in twelfth, with LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami rounding the points scorers.

Marquez said: “I’m particularly happy with this win here in Le Mans, as it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us. Today I was the only one on a hard rear tyre, and that made my approach to the race a bit different because I knew it would take a little more time to reach the right temperature. But during the warm-up, I had the opportunity to verify that once the tyre was ready, it was very constant, and I was able to keep a very good rhythm.

“To be honest, things were a bit challenging at the beginning of the race: Zarco touched me in the second corner and I went a bit wide, then Iannone crashed and nearly hit me, so I lost some more positions. I decided to cool down for a while.

“When I saw that Dovi and Johann were out, my approach to the race again changed a bit. At a certain point, I had one big moment in turn three, where I had already crashed in FP3, which is why I was being extremely careful there; I think that helped me to avoid a crash in that moment.

“I’m currently experiencing a very ‘sweet’ period with my bike, and when you’ve got that kind of feeling, you also work better; then you ride better, and the bike works better. Things don’t exactly become easier when you get into this zone, but they’re more ‘natural.’ Of course it’s a very long season, and not all the races will be the same, so we’ll just try and keep the momentum.”

MotoGP – Crutchlow declared fit to race after vicious qualifying highside

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LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow has been declared fit to race after suffering a vicious high side crash during Saturday’s qualifying 1 session at the Grand Prix of France in Le Mans.

Exiting Turn Nine while on a fast lap, the British rider was thrown over the top of the bike, before then being hit again by the bike as it slid along the asphalt behind him.

Crutchlow was attended to immediately by the marshals and medical staff at the side of the track, where it became clear that he had not lost consciousness at any moment, but he was complaining of pain in his hip region.

Crutchlow was stretchered off before being transferred to the circuit’s medical centre where he was checked over by medical staff. He was then taken to the hospital Le Mans for further examinations, and he was declared fit to race early on Sunday morning.

Lucio Cecchinello, LCR Honda team principal, said: “The most important thing first of all, is that after examination both the Le Mans circuit medical centre and here at the hospital in Le Mans, Cal has suffered no fractures or major injuries.”