Marc Marquez eased to victory at Le Mans ahead of Andrea Dovizioso
Marc Marquez prevailed in an early battle against Jack Miller in the MotoGP French Grand Prix to cruise to Honda's 300th premier class victory.
Marquez resisted a flanked attack from the works Ducati duo of Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso on the run into the Dunlop chicane off the line, with Miller working his way into third.
Petrucci made a play for the lead at the first chicane on the second lap, but Marquez held the advantage, before Miller passed his Ducati stablemate on his Pramac GP19 at Turn 7 next time around.
Miller out-dragged Marquez on the run into the first chicane to lead at the start of lap five, though the Honda rider hit the front again on lap seven at Turn 6.
Marquez quickly opened up an eight-tenth lead over Miller, who proved a stubborn road block for third-placed Dovizioso until lap 17, when he made a move finally stick at Turn 7.
Miller soon fell to a recovering Petrucci, while Marquez opened up his lead to over four seconds in the latter stages and remained unchallenged to secure his third win of the season.
Petrucci launched several attempts at taking second from his team-mate in the closing stages, but Dovizioso fended him off to finish second, while Miller shadowed the factory Ducati duo in fourth.
Valentino Rossi ran in the podium battle early, but the Yamaha rider could do nothing to advance on his qualifying position of fifth at the chequered flag, while Pol Espargaro took KTM's best-ever dry weather result in sixth, remaining within sight of the podium places.
Franco Morbidelli led Petronas SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo, who dropped to 15th in the opening laps of his home race after a mistake at Turn 8, in seventh, with Alex Rins recovering from 19th to 10th on the Suzuki to trail LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow.
Jorge Lorenzo ran inside the top eight at the start, but dropped to 11th in the end, with the Honda rider followed by Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, KTM's Johann Zarco and Tech3 duo Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira.
Joan Mir finished a lapped 16th on his back-up Suzuki bike in the wake of a bizarre incident on the warm-up lap.
Mir and Avintia rider Karel Abraham had identical front lock-ups into the Dunlop chicane on their way to the grid and crashed.
But while Mir recovered and re-joined the race Abraham was disqualified for exiting pitlane on his spare GP18 before the rest of the field had gone through.
Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) was wiped out by Francesco Bagnaia at Turn 12 on lap seven, while Takaaki Nakagami (LCR), Aprilia's Andrea Iannone and Tito Rabat (Avintia) also failed to finish.
Marquez's victory now puts him eight points clear of Dovizioso in the standings, while Rins – who was just a point adrift ahead of the Le Mans race – has slid 20 adrift in third.
France - Race Result
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||25|
|2||Andrea Dovizioso||Mission Winnow Ducati||20|
|3||Danilo Petrucci||Mission Winnow Ducati||16|
|4||Jack Miller||Alma Pramac Racing||13|
|5||Valentino Rossi||Monster Energy Yamaha||11|
|6||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM Factory||10|
|7||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||9|
|8||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||8|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||7|
|10||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki Ecstar||6|
|11||Jorge Lorenzo||Repsol Honda Team||5|
|12||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Gresini||4|
|13||Johann Zarco||Red Bull KTM Factory||3|
|14||Hafizh Syahrin||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||2|
|15||Miguel Oliviera||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||1|
|16||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki Ecstar||0|