Jack Miller streaked to a second straight MotoGP win in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans as he held off charging home hero Johann Zarco.
The factory Ducati racer fired into an early lead courtesy of his Desmosedici’s hole-shot device, the Aussie heading Yamaha duo Maverick Vinales and pole-man Fabio Quartararo by the end of the opening tour.
Things soon got slippy though as the feared rain arrived just four laps into the encounter, race control declaring the race as wet soon afterwards-meaning the rider could head into the pits to change from slicks to wets at their discretion.
Disaster struck for Miller just before the pit-stops though as he ran wide at Turn 6 and out into the gravel trap, costing him several seconds as he dug himself back out onto the circuit.
To add insult to injury he then received a double-long lap penalty for speeding in the pit-lane during his subsequent bike change, a further blow to his victory chances.
Marc Marquez meanwhile had moved himself into the lead of the encounter thanks to a rapid bike change on the fifth tour, the Honda man leading Quartararo and Suzuki’s Alex Rins as the trio exited the pits together.
Rins would crash out yet again though as he lost the front at Turn 4 just after leaving pit-lane, leaving the leading duo alone out in front as a flying Miller moved into third.
This became second not long after as Marquez high-sided on the exit of the final bend just a third into the race, handing Quartararo the lead with a charging Miller getting closer all the while.
He soon relieved the Frenchman from the lead having shrugged off his double long-lap punishment, his lead ballooning to over five seconds as Quartararo received a long-lap of his own for pulling into his team-mate’s pit-box rather than his own during the pit-stop.
Miller controlled his pace over the remaining laps out in front, his only competition being a flying Johann Zarco’s Pramac Ducati.
Zarco was unrivalled as he tore through the pack on his own wet rubber, eclipsing a 13 second gap to Quartararo to move into second with six laps left to run, Miller now only six seconds further up the road.
A fairytale home win for Zarco was not on the cards though as Miller upped his pace just enough in the closing laps to collect his second straight success by 3.9 seconds ahead of Zarco, while an ecstatic Quartararo held onto third ahead of a chasing Francesco Bagnaia by less than two seconds-the latter having served a double long-lap penalty of his own for speeding in pit-lane.
Defending French GP winner Danilo Petrucci scored his best result for Tech 3 KTM so far with a strong fightback to fifth from 17th on the grid ahead of LCR Honda duo Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami.
Pol Espargaro ended up eighth on the first of the factory Honda RC213-V’s ahead of Iker Lecuona on the second Tech 3 RC16, while Vinales completed the top ten after dropping like a stone when the rain began to soak the Le Mans tarmac.
Franco Morbidelli just missed out on a point after crashing out at Turn 11 early on while trying to pass Pol for what was sixth at the time, team-mate Valentino Rossi salvaging points for Petronas SRT Yamaha in 11th.
Reigning world champion Joan Mir completed a terrible outing for Suzuki having crashed out just prior to the pit-stops, while Marc Marquez crashed out for a second time from 11th having recovered from his earlier off, the Spaniard lapping quicker than the leaders throughout.
Brad Binder came home a lowly 13th as the only factory KTM to make the chequered flag following a crash from Miguel Oliveira while the Portuguese ace was running within the top ten.
It was a tough day for Aprilia too, both Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori retiring from points-paying positions with mechanical failures on their RS-GP machines.
Quartararo heads to Mugello for the Italian GP in two weeks time having re-taken the lead of the points standings by a single point over Bagnaia, with Zarco and Miller only 12 and 16 points adrift of the Yamaha pilot respectively.