It was a Grand Prix that didn’t go like the rest. Front runners crashed, Suzuki finished on the podium but like other times Lorenzo stayed above it to win
Lorenzo produces perfection in crash filled French GP
Tension hung in the air ahead of the 28-lap Monster Energy Grand Prix de France as riders in the MotoGP™ World Championship. Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had pole ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team).
Lorenzo made a perfect start as Marquez wheelied off the line, the Yamaha rider leading through the first chicane with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) behind him. Marquez was soon up to fourth as he charged past Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) attempted to follow him through but found himself swamped by the likes of Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
As they crossed the finish line for the first time Lorenzo’s lead stood at half a second with Dovizioso and Iannone behind.
Lap four saw Rossi improve his pace, going half a second quicker than his rival Marc Marquez who was just ahead. The pair weren’t the only ones closing up, Iannone also making significant progress on his teammate. His charge would be halted on lap seven when Iannone fell at Turn 8. Iannone’s fall was followed soon after by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), who suffered his fourth race crash of the year. One lap later, fellow satellite Honda rider Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) came off at Turn 6.
Lap 13 saw Rossi slip past on Marc Marquez, making it a three-way battle for second, until on lap 16 at Turn 7 both Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez crashed at the same time. There was no contact between them, the pair both losing the front in synchronisation. Now Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was on course for his first MotoGP™ podium and Lorenzo on the cusp of taking the championship lead.
For the second time in 2016, Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line in first place. Over ten seconds would separate him from Rossi as the race came to an end. It was a day of celebration for both Suzuki and Viñales, the Spaniard taking his first podium finish in the premier class. Viñales’ podium is the first for Suzuki since the 2008 Czech GP, making amends for his mistake in Argentina.
Victory sees Lorenzo move to the top of the championship with 90 points, Marquez forced to concede his advantage after the crash. Rossi stays third and is 12 points behind Lorenzo.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was unable to close the gap to Viñales and settled for fourth. Pol Espargaro was the fastest Independent Team rider as he ended Tech 3’s home round in a credible fifth ahead of his brother.
Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the top ten.
Rins withstands race-long pressure for second win of 2016
Clouds blotted out the sun but there was little chance of rain as riders in the Moto2™ World Championship revved their engines for the race start. Pole setter Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) made a great start with Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) shooting into second. Championship leader Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) were shuffled back down the order in the opening corners.
As the field came through Turn 6 for the second time, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) suffered his second race crash of the year. He was unhurt, but his championship hopes took a significant blow.
Luthi worked hard to break away from his pursuers but Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was right with him. Rins and Luthi continued to swap positions, until lap seven when Luthi began to fade back. Corsi and Baldassarri were quickly past the Swiss rider as well.
Corsi made sure Rins was unable to break away, working his Speed Up hard to stay with the Spaniard. Meanwhile Luthi began to recover and pressured Baldassarri as they passed half race distance, Luthi moving back to third on lap 17.
It had already been a difficult race for reigning World Champion Zarco, his Sundayturning from damage limitation to disaster as he crashed at Turn 14 on lap 18.
Luthi’s third place finish became a certainty as Baldassarri fell at Turn 3, getting back on his Kalex after the spill but outside the points.
Three laps from the end Rins was able to break Corsi, opening up a lead of almost a second as the penultimate lap began. Rins would cross the line 1.8 seconds ahead of the Italian for his second win of the season with Luthi securing third.
Franco Morbidelli managed an important fourth place ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) who put on a late challenge.
Sam Lowes, Axel Pons (AGR Team), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Luis Salom (SAG Team) and Miguel Oliveira (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top ten.
With Lowes taking sixth, Alex Rins takes control of the Moto2™ World Championship with 87 points, five ahead of Lowes who slides back to second. Tom Luthi moves up to third in the standings thanks to his podium finish as Zarco goes to fourth with 56 points.
Binder bags back-to-back wins after race long brawl
There were no signs of rain as the Moto3™ World Championship lined up on the grid for round five of the 2016 season. From pole Antonelli made a perfect start, Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) had a great run off the line and slid in behind Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as they filtered through the first chicane.
As the second lap began Binder took the lead, five riders involved in the battle for victory. His lead wouldn’t last long as Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) grabbed the advantage at the Dunlop chicane.
Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was a man on a mission, the rookie getting ahead of his teammate Navarro on lap 12. An equally fierce battle raged behind, local rider Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) working hard to hold off the Sky Racing Team VR46 duo Nicolo Bulega and Andrea Migno.
In true Moto3™ style it all came down to the last lap, Binder leading the quartet as they crossed the line. A perfect final lap saw Brad Binder take his second career victory and extend his championship lead. Fenati finished in second place while Navarro was fortunate to seal third after an aggressive move by his teammate in the penultimate corner.
Nicolo Bulega emerged victorious in the battle for fifth ahead of Fabio Quartararo with Andrea Migno, Niccolo Antonelli, Jakub Kornfeil and Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing) completing the top ten.
Binder remains atop the championship with 102 points, now 24 points ahead of Jorge Navarro. Romano Fenati is third with 67, in front of teammate Nicolo Bulega with 47 points