Le Mans (AFP)
Australian Jack Miller won an epic French MotoGP Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of two Frenchmen Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo, the latter taking the lead in the world championship.
Miller (Ducati) thus won his second consecutive victory, after that in Spain a fortnight ago, at the end of a race disrupted by the rain which forced the pilots to change machines at the start of the race to use those equipped. of wet track tires.
Zarco (Ducati-Pramac) came back like a racing car on Miller in the second part of the race, but failed to catch up with him.
Quartararo (Yamaha) has chosen to secure third place which allows him to regain the lead of the championship with one point ahead of the Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), fourth Sunday.
“The wind added to the rain and I thought the race was going to be stopped,” Miller said at the finish.
He was also forced to observe a double penalty (extended lap) during the race for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane while changing bikes.
"Two wins in a row is fantastic," he said.
He climbed back to 4th place in the championship and won his 3rd MotoGP victory.
"Maybe if we had changed bikes a little earlier we could have won the race," said Johann Zarco who gets his 3rd second place this season and goes back to 3rd place in the championship behind Quartararo and Bagnaia.
However, he failed to snag a first MotoGP victory on his record.
- general confusion -
"I'm so happy, it's like a victory for me," Quartararo said, indicating that his front tire was completely worn out at the end of the race.
He also experienced an emotion by missing in the general confusion to take the wrong bike during the change, setting off first, before changing his mind, to climb on that of his Spanish teammate Maverick Vinales, who started 2nd on the grid but who could not do better than 10th.
The episode got him a penalty in the form of an extended lap.
After the downpour, the sun returned to the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, forcing the competitors to finish the event with their rain tires which quickly deteriorated.
In these conditions, it was Zarco who was the fastest but he could not catch up with Miller who finished with a little less than four seconds ahead of him.
Many riders fell on a wet or damp track, most of them getting up with their machines to continue the race, often only to fall again a few laps later.
Marc Marquez (Honda), the six-time Spanish world champion who returns to the circuits after missing most of last season due to injury, was one of them, retiring after his second crash as he climbed back up. the leading men.
Bagnaia can congratulate himself on having limited the damage.
Having started very far on the grid after failed qualifications and then also penalized for the same reasons as his teammate Miller, his 4th place allows him to remain almost at the level of Quartararo in the provisional championship standings.
It also took advantage of the Ducati's velocity in the rain and in precarious track conditions, with the Italian brand placing three machines in the top four.
© 2021 AFP