Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: GIGI SOLDANO / Studio Milagro / DPPI via AFP 17:58 p.m., May 14, 2023

Italian Marco Bezzecchi won the MotoGP France Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday. Frenchmen Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo finished 3rd and 7th. The Grand Prix was marked by the fall of Francesco Bagnaia on the fifth lap.

Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati-VR46) won the France Grand Prix on Sunday, the fifth round of the MotoGP season, after a wild race ahead of the Ducati-Pramac of Spaniard Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac) and Frenchman Johann Zarco. Bezzecchi, who picked up his second win of the year, returns to the championship standings one point behind defending champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), who crashed early in the race. The other Frenchman, Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), took seventh place.

The race, which was the 1000th Grand Prix in MotoGP history and which shattered the attendance record of the premier category of the bike, was very spectacular and many riders crashed despite the good weather conditions.

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Fall of Bagnaia

Under the Sarthe sun, the first twist came on the fifth lap with the fall of Bagnaia, which collided with the Spaniard Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) who had just overtaken him and dragged him into the gravel. Very angry, the Spaniard quickly got up and put a small slap on the helmet of the Italian. The two drivers then almost came to blows before being separated by the stewards.

A few seconds later, Italian Luca Marini (Ducati-VR46) also crashed with Spaniard Alex Marquez (Ducati-Gresini). Both drivers found themselves lying on the track and narrowly avoided being hit by other competitors.

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Zarco as a hero

Bezzecchi, who had started in seventh position, quickly took control of the race and then widened the gap to win as boss and revive the world championship. With 93 points, he returned to a small length of Bagnaia (94). Behind him, Martin and Marc Marquez (Honda) fought a superb duel marked by many spectacular overtaking. But the six-time MotoGP world champion, who was making his comeback after injuring his right hand at the end of March during the season opener in Portugal, finally cracked by falling on the penultimate lap.

Marquez's misfortunes made Zarco happy, who took third place and clinched an unexpected podium, to the delight of his tens of thousands of supporters at Le Mans. Despite a missed start, the Avignon native managed a good climb to fourth place, which he seized on lap 14 by overtaking Australian Jack Miller (KTM). He then managed to get closer to Martin and Marquez and finally took advantage of the latter's fall.

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Zarco moves up the rankings

Thanks to this second podium of the season after his second place in April in Argentina, Zarco climbs back to fifth place in the world championship with 66 points, 24 lengths behind the leader. Quartararo had a fairly anonymous race. After a timid start, the 2021 world champion, who started in 13th position, barely managed to grab a few places, especially by taking advantage of the falls of his opponents.

In the end, the Niçois clinched seventh place and scored nine points in the world championship, where he climbed back to ninth place with 49 units on the clock, 45 less than Bagnaia.