A stunning MotoGP round five saw Jorge Martin soak up the pressure and threw down the gauntlet at the Grand Prix de France, coming out on top in a three-way fight for glory against Marc Marquez and Bagnaia infront of a record roaring 297,471 fans. Report: Ed Stratham/MotoGP

Friday Practice and Saturday Qualifying
At the end of Friday, it was tight at the top, with just 0.187s separating the top three. Thanks to a new lap record, however, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) reigned supreme ahead of 2023 duelling partner Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), with rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) making a statement in third and on team home turf.

Championship leader Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) would start from pole at the Michelin® Grand Prix de France, although the journey to the top, via a stunning new lap record in the 1:29s, was far from drama-free. But neither was it for his now closest-challenger in the standings either, reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), as the #1 followed a tumble for Martin with one of his own. They’ll start 1-2 on the grid though, and they’ll have company from another fast challenger in Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) as the 2017 winner geared up for another shot at victory.

Behind that front row, it was Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) and teammate and 2023 Le Mans winner Marco Bezzecchi in fourth and fifth.

It continues to be one of the most unpredictable Moto2™ seasons yet, as Sergio Garcia (MT Helmets – MSI) hit back to end Friday on top, claiming a new lap record at Le Mans with a 1:35.473 in the last five minutes of the session. Alonso Lopez (Folladore SpeedUp) was second despite losing the front at the end of the session while on a fast lap (rider ok) and third went the way of his teammate Fermin Aldeguer, who found time on a last fast lap to rocket up the order.

Aron Canet (Fantic Racing) came out of the blocks swinging in France on Saturday to secure a heroic pole position, fighting through from Q1 to pull off a spectacular 1:35.037. A late crash couldn’t dampen spirits as he looked to get back in the fight at the front despite his ankle injury. Joining Canet on a competitive front row was World Championship leader, Joe Roberts (OnlyFans American Racing Team), who was a mere 0.136s behind, with the rider Roberts’ stole the lead from last time out, Sergio Garcia (MT Helmets – MSI), lining up third.

CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team’s David Alonso continued to stamp his mark in Le Mans, as the Colombian smashed the lap record for the second time on Friday, setting a remarkable 1:40.470. The #80 was ahead of teammate Joel Esteban (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team), who was the only other rider inside the 1:40 bracket – but 0.480s adrift from Alonso. In third place after briefly snatching the top spot with 10 minutes remaining was Daniel Holgado.

After taking his first pole three GPs ago, David Alonso (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team) hasn’t started from anywhere else since. His third consecutive pole position saw him destroy the lap record yet again with a 1:40.114 on his final flying lap in France as he looked to bounce back from a crash out of the lead in Spain. It was extremely close at the front, however, with Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) securing second, missing out on pole position by 0.011s, with Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) returning to the action and the front row at once.

Check out the full Practice and Qualifying results here…

Tissot Sprint
It was a stunning start from Martin to take the holeshot, and the exact opposite for Bagnaia as he plummeted from second to mid-pack, seemingly with some sort of issue. Meanwhile some friendly-fire – within the limit – between the Aprilias added another shuffle, and with that it was Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) slotting into second on the chase behind Martin.

Meanwhile, as Bagnaia went backwards, Marc Marquez was storming forwards. The number 93 threaded the needle to perfection off the start and rapidly powered into fifth. Within a few laps, he was the rider on the chase behind the Martin-Bezzecchi duel at the front.

Aleix Espargaro was next to drop out of that front battle as his start proved too good to be true, given a double Long Lap for the jump start. The drama then amped up again for Bagnaia just behind that, as he ran wide from the back of the field. Something was definitely wrong for the #1 as he then headed into pitlane. The reigning Champion was forced to withdraw from the Sprint.

That left Martin leading Bezzecchi and Marquez, with Viñales next up. A gaggle of Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team), Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had the gloves off too, before Espargaro then rejoined in their midst.

Suddenly, there was more drama at the front. Yellow flashed across the run off at Turn 9 as Bezzecchi slid out from second place, leaving Marquez on the hunt behind Martin. The gap between the two was now over two seconds, thus meaning The Sprint King got the job done again in style to capitalise on a tough Sprint for Bagnaia.

Behind Martin’s impressive charge at the front, Marquez took second after an awesome comeback ride from P13 on the grid, with Viñales holding onto third in the last laps as Bastianini put in a late charge for glory. The Beast had to settle for fourth, as Espargaro recovered from his double Long Lap to finish fifth.

“First of all, great fans because this is a fantastic crowd. I’m so happy because the pace was outstanding. It was difficult because Marco was putting out some great laps, then when I saw he crashed I just tried to keep my constant pace right to the end, quite relaxed,” Martin said.

Tissot Sprint Race Results

  1. Jorge Martin Pramac Ducati
  2. Marc Marquez Gresini Ducati (+2.280s)
  3. Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing (+4.174s)
  4. Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo (+4.798s)
  5. Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Racing (+7.698s)

Check out the full Tissot Sprint results here

Off the line, Martin made a good start from pole but Bagnaia bettered it, with the #1 taking the holeshot from second on the grid. Behind, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was threatening but ran in hot at the chicane, leaving teammate Aleix Espargaro to challenge Martin for second on the exit as the #12 Aprilia slotted in just behind Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) in fourth. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, was up to eighth almost immediately, slicing up from his P13 grid slot.

At the front, Bagnaia had the hammer down but Martin refused to let him speed off at the front. The two pulled a small gap on the chasing pack led by Espargaro, with Diggia in fourth and rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) eager to attack Viñales.

The rookie then proved the protagonist of the first drama. Looking for a way through on that duel ahead, he overcooked it into Turn 8 going for a move on the VR46 machine ahead, and then only just avoided tagging both as he slid out. More drama then hit nearly immediately after as Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) fell as he pushed to try and duel with Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team).

At the front, Bagnaia pounded on. Martin shadowed, equally pitch perfect until one small mistake from both with 19 to go, heading ever so slightly wide. But they gathered it back up as the podium fight behind started to light up, the race split between a duel and a melee.

Diggia was homing in on Espargaro, but Viñales, Marquez and Bastianini lurked. The next move came there as Marquez attacked Viñales but was repelled, and Diggia then had a shot at the #41 Aprilia, also forced to hold station. But a lap later, the #49 was through into third, and Viñales then began to line up his teammate. He needed no second invite after the door was just left open, with Marquez then striking straight away too.

Next was Bastianini. The Beast came from a long way back and also went in hot, gathering it back up but Espargaro then taking to the run off before rejoining. Bastianini didn’t make the apex either, but his was a shortcut and he was then given a Long Lap for the time not lost.

Meanwhile, Marquez had picked Viñales’ pocket after the #12 went slightly wide, and the eight-time World Champion was homing in on Diggia. By Lap 16, the #93 made his first attack through Turn 3. The Italian responded, and in the shuffle, Viñales almost nearly made his way through too. But it was as you were until a lap later as Marquez went for it again, and this time Diggia ran wide trying to take it back. The #93 and Viñales were both past, and the #49 then got a Long Lap.

With just under ten laps to go, Bagnaia led Martin, the two still absolutely glued together, but now it was Marquez on the move. Soon, the chess match had its first big move. At Turn 3, Martin attacked. And he got through, but on the cutback Bagnaia judged it to the absolutely millimetre to nudge back ahead. As you were, until a lap later. Same move, different result as this time the #89 was able to hold it. There was a new race leader, but there was also a new fastest lap… from Marquez.

The Gresini flyer was on the factory machine of Bagnaia in what seemed like a flash as it became a leading trio. It seemed Martin was starting to pull out the centimetres as he dug in, but then the #89 was deep into the chicane with three to go, and it was absolutely locked together once again. Bagnaia was close as anything and showed a wheel but couldn’t barge the door open, leaving a six-wheeled fight for the win to roll on.

Over the line for the last lap, Martin and Bagnaia were almost one machine round Turn 1 and 2, but a Hail Mary on the brakes from Marquez saw that #93 re-appear in the shot by the time the trio dropped anchor at the chicane. Bagnaia was harrying, impatient and looking for any inch of space to make a move on Martin, but there was none – so Marquez made some instead.

The Gresini star divebombed it to perfection, getting it stopped to take over in second as the remaining apexes ticked down. Would Bagnaia be able to respond at the final corner? Up ahead, Martin crossed the line to take one of his most impressive wins to date, soaking up the pressure and making it a serious statement Sunday. His lead goes out to an incredible 38 points – enough to guarantee he leaves the next GP as Championship leader too – and it was Bagnaia and Marquez on his tail in that order. Marquez’s back-to-back podiums are his first since 2021 and he’s 40 points off the top, but Bagnaia remains second despite that 0 from the Sprint in France.

Behind the podium battle, Bastianini charged back from his Long Lap to get past Viñales late on, with the #12 forced to settle for fifth.

“Making it a Sprint and Sunday race [double] was one of the best,” Martin reflected. “I am really happy with my performance. I think we have got to a moment with the bike where I feel the limit where I can arrive and I am really confident. I think my progression is clear. I think you can see from the results. I am becoming a better rider, a better person, and this is the most important thing.”

MotoGP Race Results

  1. Jorge Martin Pramac Ducati
  2. Marc Marquez Gresini Ducati (+0.446s)
  3. Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo (+0.585s)
  4. Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo (+2.206s)
  5. Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing (+4.053s)

Check out the full MotoGP race results here

MotoGP Championship Points after MotoGP Round Five

  1. Jorge Martin Pramac Ducati – 129
  2. Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo – 91
  3. Marc Marquez Gresini Ducati – 89
  4. Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo – 89
  5. Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing – 81

Sergio Garcia (MT Helmets – MSI) claimed the perfect start, pulling out a steady gap on the opening lap as the rest of the field battled hard behind. Polesitter Aron Canet (Fantic Racing) was swallowed by the pack in the opening stage of the race after a big mistake on the first lap, dropping to eighth in a fight with Fermin Aldeguer (Folladore SpeedUp). A number of crashers, including Manuel Gonzalez (QJMOTO Gresini Moto2™), saw the order chop and change, but the rider on the move was Canet. After setting a fastest lap, the #44 attacked Roberts for second in a brilliant three-way fight joined by Lopez, with the American bumped to the back of the trio.

At the front, Garcia charged on to keep the gap consistent, with all attention turning to the battle for second between Canet and Lopez. It was gloves off with three laps remaining, with Lopez slipping into second before making a mistake at turn four, allowing Canet to show his front wheel. The battle for second then bunched up even more with Ogura fancying a podium – charging into third on the last lap.

Garcia crossed the line to win the French GP, with Ogura finding a gap to pass Lopez for second, holding on to it to make it a historic 1-2. Lopez was then left to fend off a final corner move from Roberts, with contact but no drama and the Spaniard holding on to the line. Behind Roberts to cross the line in fifth was Somkiat Chantra, who was (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) a further 0.171s behind.

Moto2 Race Results

  1. Sergio Garcia MT Helmets – MSI
  2. Ai Ogura MT Helmets – MSI (+3.174s)
  3. Alonso Lopez Folladore Speed Up (+3.704s)
  4. Joe Roberts OnlyFans American Racing Team (+3.764s)
  5. Somkiat Chantra IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (+3.935s)

Check out the full Moto2 race results here

Moto2 Championship Points

  1. Sergio Garcia MT Helmets – MSI – 89 points
  2. Joe Roberts OnlyFans American Racing Team – 82 points
  3. Fermin Aldeguer Beta Tools Speed Up – 63 points
  4. Ai Ogura MT Helmets – MSI – 63 points
  5. Alonso Lopez Beta Tools Speed Up – 54 points

David Alonso (CFMoto Gaviota Aspar Team) got the launch and initial lead, but through the chicane Holgado struck to propel himself into first. The Championship leader headed his closest rival as fellow front row starter Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) harried the duo, but in no time at all it became the classic Moto3™ freight train.

Alonso, Holgado, Veijer and Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets – MSI) duked it out at the front, with close company from rookie Joel Esteban (CFMoto Gaviota Aspar Team) and Ortola’s teammate Ryusei Yamanaka. On the final lap, it bubbled up to a three-way fight between the top three in the title fight as Holgado led Alonso and Veijer. But not for long, as the Colombian hit quickly to edge out the 96, leading into and through the 3-4 chicane. And he kept leading, with Holgado just not able to find a way through 9 and 10, nor into 12 as he looked tempted to try.

That left Alonso to complete his bounce back mission from Jerez in style to get back on the top step, and with it, closing the gap to Holgado at the top of the Championship to a single point. Veijer was likewise not able to nudge open the door to attack on the final lap, but third to follow up his victory at Jerez makes it the second time he’s taken back-to-back GP podiums.

Esteban nabbed fourth from Ortola on the final lap, taking his best Grand Prix result yet as he continues to impress in his rookie year. Ortola completed the top five though, with Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) coming back to P6 from two Long Laps given for slow riding in practice.

Moto3 Race Results

  1. David Alonso CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team
  2. Daniel Holgado Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 (+0.105s)
  3. Collin Veijer Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (+0.242s)
  4. Joel Esteban CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team (+0.476s)
  5. Ivan Ortola MT Helmets – MSI (+0.612s)

Check out the full Moto3 race results here

Moto3 Championship Points

  1. Daniel Holgado Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 – 94 points
  2. David Alonso CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team – 93 points
  3. Collin Veijer Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP – 62 points
  4. Ivan Ortola MT Helmets – MSI – 50 points
  5. Joel Kelso BOE Motorsports – 42 points

    Check out the MotoE results here

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