Marco Bezzecchi closed up to the head of the MotoGP standings with an assured Le Mans win as Francesco Bagnaia crashed out after colliding with Maverick Vinales.
Bezzecchi ran towards the back end of the top ten in the early stages of the 27-lap encounter, though managed to make significant ground towards the front thanks to a pair of nasty incidents up ahead of him.
First to go was the tussling duo of Bagnaia and Vinales after the latter first dived through at Turn 10 and ran wide, the pair then colliding as Bagnaia tried to move back at the apex for the next corner to eliminate them both from contention.
Bezzecchi then moved into the top five after VR46 team-mate Luca Marini lost the front of his Ducati on the exit of Turn 3, leaving Alex Marquez nowhere to go but into the rear of the Italian – eliminating both rider’s from the contest just moments after the earlier incident.
Keen to make further progress Bezzecchi soon moved into the podium positions by attacking Honda’s Marc Marquez into Turn 6, though as a result of forcing the Spaniard off he was ordered to drop a position – which in the end left him still third due to having already passed Jorge Martin before being given the punishment.
Having swiftly re-passed the Pramac ace he then quickly ran down and moved clear of leader Jack Miller, Bezzecchi then cruising off into the distance as his peers battled for the remaining rostrum places behind him.
He eventually took the chequered flag 4.2 seconds clear of the rest to record his second career premier class win – in the 1000th premier class grand prix no less – a result that moves him just a point adrift of Bagnaia in the overall standings heading to his home event at Mugello in three weeks time.
Martin meanwhile came out on top for the battle for second with Marquez, the duo enjoying a spirited battle in the closing stages which Martin eventually secured after Marquez dropped his RC213-V at Turn 5 with just over a lap to run.
Marquez’s disappointment was to home hero Johann Zarco’s gain though as he secured a popular rostrum in front of his adoring fans, the Pramac man heading home impressive rookie Augusto Fernandez who was a surprise fourth having shown blistering speed and tranquillity beyond his experience level to secure fourth at his Tech 3 outfit’s home event.
Aleix Espargaro ended up fifth on the sole remaining Aprilia ahead of Brad Binder’s KTM, the South African having recovered from a poor start that saw him fall as far as 18th as well as a long-lap penalty for short-cutting the course to make good ground on Bagnaia in the points.
Fabio Quartararo survived the attritional race to claim seventh for Yamaha ahead of Fabio Di Gianantonio’s Gresini Ducati, while Takaaki Nakagami was the sole Honda to reach the chequered flag in ninth for LCR ahead of the other Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli in tenth.
Danilo Petrucci took 11th on his one-off ride for the factory Ducati team, while Lorenzo Savadori and Jonas Folger were the last riders to finish in 12th and 13th respectively.
Miller’s tough day came to an end with a late crash while running seventh, while Alex Rins and Joan Mir crashed their Honda’s from points-scoring positions at around the mid-point of the race.