Marc Marquez eases to Le Mans win as Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso crash out
Marc Marquez took his third successive win of the 2018 MotoGP season as he cruised to victory in the French Grand Prix, while title rivals Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso crashed out.
Just as he did at the Spanish Grand Prix, Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo utilised the early grip advantage of his soft tyres to take the lead from sixth on the grid, while Zarco recovered from a poor launch from pole to snatch second back from Marquez with a daring move into the Dunlop chicane.
A crash for Andrea Iannone out of third place at La Chapelle caught Marquez out and dropped him to sixth, while Dovizioso slotted into third.
Dovizioso carved past Zarco when the Tech3 rider ran wide at La Chapelle on lap three, and pounced on his Ducati team-mate Lorenzo into the Dunlop chicane on the fifth lap to take the lead.
However, the Italian's hopes of victory and closing down the 24-point deficit in the championship he held coming into the Le Mans race following his Jerez DNF were dashed when he went down at La Chapelle.
Marquez stole second from Zarco at the end of lap seven, but the Frenchman retaliated into the Dunlop chicane. Pushing to break away from the Honda rider, Zarco crashed at Garage Vert.
A lap later, Marquez took the lead from Lorenzo, who quickly dropped behind Danilo Petrucci, Valentino Rossi and Jack Miller.
Petrucci kept Marquez's advantage at a constant second, but Marquez's harder tyre allowed him to ease away from the Italian to a comfortable 2.3-second victory to go 36 points clear in the standings and equal Casey Stoner's tally of 38 MotoGP wins.
Petrucci secured his first podium since Japan last year in second, while Rossi managed a late charge from fourth-placed Miller to score his first podium finish since the season-opener in Qatar.
Dani Pedrosa bested Lorenzo in the closing stages to complete the top five, while Maverick Vinales ended the race a distant seventh.
LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow – who was only discharged from hospital this morning after his massive qualifying crash – managed eighth, the Briton getting past Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and Suzuki's Alex Rins in the final laps.
Pol Espargaro led Hafizh Syahrin home in 11th, with Franco Morbidelli, Bradley Smith and Takaaki Nakagami completing the points.
As well as Dovizioso, Zarco and Iannone, crashes ended Alvaro Bautista's, Scott Redding's and Tito Rabat's races.
France - Race Result
|1||Marc Marquez||Honda Team||25|
|2||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Racing||2.310||20|
|3||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha MotoGP||5.350||16|
|4||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||6.314||13|
|5||Dani Pedrosa||Honda Team||7.419||11|
|6||Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati Team||10.355||10|
|7||Maverick Vinales||Yamaha MotoGP||23.758||9|
|8||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||25.795||8|
|9||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing||26.206||7|
|10||Alex Rins||Suzuki Ecstar||27.937||6|
|11||Pol Espargaro||KTM Racing||32.304||5|
|12||Hafizh Syahrin||Yamaha Tech 3||34.962||4|
|13||Franco Morbidelli||Marc VDS||37.881||3|
|14||Bradley Smith||KTM Racing||38.299||2|
|15||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||41.986||1|
|16||Thomas Luthi||Marc VDS||45.260||0|
|17||Karel Abraham||Angel Nieto Team||56.872||0|
|18||Xavier Simeon||Avintia Racing||72.117||0|
|19||Scott Redding||Aprilia Racing||DNF||0|
|20||Tito Rabat||Avintia Racing||DNF||0|
|21||Johann Zarco||Yamaha Tech 3||DNF||0|
|22||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||DNF||0|
|23||Alvaro Bautista||Angel Nieto Team||DNF||0|
|24||Andrea Iannone||Suzuki Ecstar||DNF||0|