French MotoGP: Petrucci wins as Marquez comes second in a wet race as title rivals struggle

French MotoGP: Petrucci wins as Marquez comes second in a wet race as title rivals struggle

Ducatti rider Danilo Petrucci won a dramatic French MotoGP ahead of Alex Marquez who is a Repsol Honda rookie, while the title contenders Fabio Quartararo and Suzuki’s Joan Mir struggled throughout the race.

There was a brief delay before the race could officialy start due to a very heavy downpour at the Le Mans, the race was declared wet for the first time since the Valencia GP back in 2018.

The race started as LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow held the lead very briefly on the run up the hill to the dunlop chicane but was immediately overtaken by Pramac’s Jack Miller who took the lead at Turn 3. Moments later, Valentino Rossi on his Monster Yamaha crashed forcing his teammate Maverick Vinales, Joan Mir(Suzuki) and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro to take avoiding action through the first chicane. This put Vinales and Mir off the points in the race.

In the middle of Rossi’s chaos, Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci on the works Ducatti moved in behind Jack Miller, with Fabio Quartararo who was in the pole position dropped to fourth but soon faced immense pressure from the riders behind him as he struggled on his Petronas Yamaha, this being his first wet race.

French MotoGP: Petrucci wins as Marquez comes second in a wet race as title rivals struggle
The winners of the French MotoGP Danilo Petrucci(centre) finished first as Alex Marquez(right) and Pol Espargaro(left) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at the French MotoGP

Petrucci found his way around Miller at the blue esses towards the completion of the first lap as Dovizioso quickly followed him through. The 3 Ducatti riders made a buffer to hold off the following riders as Suzuki’s Alex Rins made it to the fourth position after improving from 16th as lap four approached once his medium tyres were up to temperarture. Rins continued chasing after the Ducatti’s and by lap 11 his efforts paid off as he was under a second behind Miller.

Dovizioso, on lap 18 made a move to take the lead on Petrucci on the first corner and later resisted a counterattack at the Garage Vert. The two Ducattis fought side by side as the ran through the double right-hander side as they made contact at the following corner while Rins overtook Dovizioso from the inside and took the second position behind Petrucci. Miller’s Pramac GP20 later failed him on the following lap as Rins crashed out of the second place at Turn 3 on the following hour.

Petrucci was now 2.7 seconds ahead of the second placed Dovizioso, though the teammate quicky narrowed the gap while Marquez in his first wet race closed in on the leading pack. Petrucci’s lead narrowed further to 1.2 seconds on lap 23 but Dovizioso immediately started suffering from lack of rear grip and could not help it as Marquez passed him at the La Chapelle.

French MotoGP: Petrucci wins as Marquez comes second in a wet race as title rivals struggle
Danilo Petrucci(9) leads as his teammate Andrea Dovizioso(4) follows during the early stages of the French MotoGP

Petrucci maintained his lead up to the final lap as the rider made it across the finish line first making this his second victory in the 2020 MotoGP Season also being the 7th different winner this season. Rookie Marquez gave Honda the first podium victory by finishing second having started on 18th place. KTM’s Pol Espargaro finished third after taking on Dovizioso later in the race.

Dovizioso managed to finish fourth despite his fading rear tyre as Johann Zarco finished fifth on his Avintia Ducatti, he was on his home ground. Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira finished 6th ahead of Takaaki Nakagami on his LCR Honda, factory Honda rider Stefan Bradl finished in 8th place while Quartararo was able to hold off Vinales and Mir taking the 9th place.

Fabio Quartararo still extends his lead with over 10 points on Joan Mir, Dovizioso on the other hand is 18 points adrift the championship leader and just a point clear of Vinales. Brad Binder finished his first wet race in 12th place on his KTM as Francesco Bagnaia couldn’t keep up with his Ducatti counterparts as he finished 13th on his Pramac GP20. Aleix Espargaro and Tech3’s Iker Lecuona rounded out the points for the race.

Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli crashed and later retired from the race after lagging behind throughout the race as Crutchlow, Aprilia’s Bradley Smith and Avintia’s Tito Rabat fell of from the race.

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