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Marquez extends MotoGP lead as Le Mans rivals crash



Champagne moment: Marquez celebrates French win

Champagne moment: Marquez celebrates French win

AFP/Getty Images

Champagne moment: Marquez celebrates French win

Marc Marquez extended his MotoGP lead with victory in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

Honda rider Marquez now leads by 36 points after a victory which looked in little doubt once his two main rivals, Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco, had crashed out of the race.

Dovizioso led at the start of the fifth lap but promptly lost the front end of his Ducati and slid into the gravel for his second retirement in as many races. Three laps later Zarco suffered the same fate as he fell at the Garage Vert double right-hander to end his hopes of a first MotoGP win.

Marquez picked off leader Jorge Lorenzo on the 10th lap and went on to claim a routine victory ahead of Danilo Petrucci, with Valentino Rossi third.

Lorenzo surrendered further places to the second Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller and Dani Pedrosa on the second works Honda, ending up sixth, 10 seconds down on Marquez. Maverick Vinales ran as low as 13th in the early laps but managed to recover to seventh, a further 13 seconds back, while Cal Crutchlow passed Aleix Espargaro on the last lap to grab eighth after his huge qualifying crash left him in doubt for the race.

Completing the top 10 was the remaining Suzuki of Alex Rins, whose team-mate Andrea Iannone crashed out on the opening lap at La Chapelle.

Pol Espargaro led the KTM charge in 11th, while top rookie Hafizh Syahrin, Franco Morbidelli, Bradley Smith and Takaaki Nakagami rounded off the scorers.

The other riders to crash were Scott Redding, Tito Rabat and Alvaro Bautista.

MotoGP results: 1 Marc Marquez (Spa) Honda 41mins 49.773secs, 2 Danilo Petrucci (Ita) Ducati 41:52.083, 3 Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 41:55.123, 4 Jack Miller (Aus) Ducati 41:56.087, 5 Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 41:57.192, 6 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Ducati 42:00.128, 7 Maverick Vinales (Spa) Yamaha 42:13.531, 8 Cal Crutchlow (Gbr) Honda 42:15.568, 9 Aleix Espargaro (Spa) Aprilia 42:15.979, 10 Alex Rins (Spa) Suzuki 42:17.710 Suzuki (Jpn) Honda 37:51.573, 10 Jaume Masia (Spa) KTM 37:51.760

Leading MotoGP World Championships standings: Riders: 1 Marc Marquez (Spa) Honda 95pts, 2 Maverick Vinales (Spa) Yamaha 59, 3 Johann Zarco (Fra) Yamaha 58, 4 Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 56, 5 Danilo Petrucci (Ita) Ducati 54, 6 Jack Miller (Aus) Ducati 49, 7 Andrea Iannone (Ita) Suzuki 47, 8 Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Ducati 46, 8 Cal Crutchlow (Gbr) Honda 46, 10 Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 29 Manufacturers: 1 Honda 120pts, 2 Yamaha 92, 3 Ducati 82, 4 Suzuki 61, 5 KTM 19, 6 Aprilia 18

Belfast Telegraph