The MotoGP French GP saw only 13 riders finishing with as many as eight riders crashing out with two big incidents involving multiple ones.
Everything seemed fine at the start until the first major incident in MotoGP French GP at Le Mans involving Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia and Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales. The two went wheel-to-wheel for couple of corners before coming together.
Vinales seemingly had the line but it was too late and both eventually agreed it to be a racing incident. There were tempers flying from the Aprilia rider but it was resolved soon. Moments later, VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini collided with Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez.
Marini already had to save himself from falling coming in the corner while fending off teammate Marco Bezzecchi. As soon as he saved himself from falling, he slowed and was caught out by Marquez with both having to save themselves from the other riders.
It was deemed as a racing incident as well but Marquez has been given a 3-place drop for his ambitious riding on Lap 1 when he shot through Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco, which in term pushed not only the Frenchman but two other riders wide.
They were Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and KTM’s Brad Binder. Since he took the inside line and just pushed himself through, the stewards deemed it to be as irresponsible riding. The others to crash were Honda’s Marc Marquez & Joan Mir, KTM’s Jack Miller and LCR Honda’s Alex Rins.
Here’s what the MotoGP riders had to say:
Bagnaia: “From my point of view, he overtook me very cleanly, but was a bit wide. I was on the inside, on my line and when he came back across he just tried to have his normal line. But I was there. So maybe I could manage better and maybe I had to close the gas. Or maybe he had to consider that I was there. It was unlucky circumstances and one thing that makes me smile is that it happened from two of the most clean riders on the grid. So it can happen to everybody. I’m not angry with Maverick. I didn’t like the reaction. It was a bit too aggressive, but when you have the tension, the adrenaline, it can happen. When you are hit by a rider or when you crash because you hit other riders, you are more angry because you feel another rider ruined your race.
“I consider this like unlucky circumstances. A racing incident, so I’m not angry with him. I was with the Stewards before and I asked to call Maverick because I think we have to improve on that and we have to speak with the two riders together that commit the mistakes. They have to speak with each other to share their point of view. Like I was expecting, at the start me and him were in the opposite way points of view. But when we finished the meeting, we were in the same point of view. So this is something that has to happen always.”
Vinales: “I passed him very cleanly and then, my point of view is that he could leave a little bit more space in this change direction. But it’s a shame because we both take a zero on a weekend where we were really fast and maybe on the race the fastest. I didn’t know where he was. I think he could see me a little bit when he changed direction. But it’s always complicated. You have a lot of points of view. At the end, for me, it’s a racing incident, nothing else than that. I already talked with the stewards. I talked also with Pecco. We gave our points of view and at the end we need to have respect for other riders. Pecco and myself are among the cleanest in the racing lines and there was no meaning to fight each other. Emotions, the adrenaline. Especially I was very angry because I had the potential to win the race, so I was very upset. I was very angry with him. But afterwards we move on, we shake hands. We know that this is racing and you need to have respect between the riders.”
Marini: “I touched too much the kerb on the inside of turn 4. So I lost the front, but then I was able to stand up the bike. I made one of the best saves of my life, so I was happy in that moment! But then Marquez hit me in the back. For me it was just a racing incident. In this case it’s really difficult for the riders behind. I don’t blame Alex, in his position he couldn’t do anything else. He was in the process of overtaking and he was very close to me and Marco. The incident was quite aggressive, quite hard. But finally everything went fine. Just I have pain in the thumbs, like a stretched pain from the handlebars. And then also when I hit the ground with my hands. It was a big impact. But for Alex everything is fine, so perfect. Maybe I will make another check at home, but fortunately, we have three weeks now to rest. It’s a shame because I was feeling good. Everybody was really, really aggressive in the first laps, like every time, but I think I could do a very good race today.
A Marquez: “I was behind Johann and after turn 5 I was not expecting him to be braking really soon. Then I was trying to avoid him on the inside. They closed the gas so early and then I touched just a little bit Brad. Brad’s line is really inside there and he was trying to defend and I just touched him a little bit, but I saw that he lost some positions. So I’m sorry for that because it was not my intention to go against Brad. I just touched him just a little bit, but you know, for him it was a big one because he went really, really off wide.
“Regarding the other incident, it was scary but fortunately I’m OK. Luca did a small mistake going in on the kerb and lost the front. Marco was able to not touch him for nothing. And I was behind Marco, so I didn’t see anything. When Marco moved Luca was in the middle, and I was not able to avoid that crash. Then I was sliding and I was like a cat, trying to have somewhere to go. But everybody was so good to avoid me. So thanks to all the riders that were able to miss me on the inside. We lost again another potential podium chance. We have been really unfortunate, the touch in the Sprint, the crash in Austin… we need to change this luck.”
M Marquez: “I enjoyed it a lot. It was one of my better races, a long time ago. It’s true that I crashed, but I enjoyed it a lot, I was riding well and felt well with the bike. It’s true that I was losing where we were losing – in the straights, top speed, acceleration, in the traction area. But we were riding in a very good way. This was very, very important. But we showed to everybody that we are there. Now it’s time to analyse, to keep working, and to be better in Mugello. No, no. I’m happy. It’s true that I would like to finish the race. But with the tools we have, it’s difficult, for the moment, to fight for those positions. I saw that I was able to do it, but not in the best way. We have to fight in that position with less risk. So we have to work together with the team.”
Miller: “Obviously not the way we wanted to end things here. We had great pace all weekend and led a decent handful of laps but when the other boys came past they seemed to be able to knock-it-up a gear. I was fading a little bit but also preserving the left side of the tyre and I knew I had a bit left at the end. I then used too much kerb on the inside of Turn 4 and that was all she wrote. I cut it tight just a little bit too much. I tried to hang on to it, pick it up and get a point, come away from the weekend with at least something, but it wasn’t to be. I had a good feeling all weekend, the bike was working well all weekend, I made a stupid decision with the medium front tyre, and cost myself a decent result in the sprint race. Put the soft front in, I felt mega again all the way through. Had good feedback at least. Just a weekend of mistakes on my behalf. Which isn’t good enough, I apologise to the team and everyone for that, and we’ll try to be better in Mugello.”
Rins: “I made a good start and was trying to recover positions as we had found something that made me feel comfortable on the bike, but after the 14th lap, the front end got closed, and I crashed. I was struggling with the rear side of the bike. However, this is part of racing, and we’ll keep pushing in Mugello.”
Mir: “I made a really good start to the race and I was able to ride comfortably in the opening laps. When you are battling with the top ten and in a big group, there’s a really big slipstream effect and it becomes harder to stop the bike. I stood the bike up to avoid hitting Aleix and this is where the mistake came from and I lost the group. Then I tried some different things with the bike and I unfortunately fell. But I was able to ride in low 32s, this is really important and the thing that we have to focus on. We take these positives, study everything well and prepare for the next race.”
A collision between Luca Marina and Alex Marquez left Alex in the middle of the track dodging MotoGP bikes. Both ok but Alex was very lucky.
.#motogp #frenchgp #alexmarquez #marquez #crash #nikonz9 pic.twitter.com/HzafBQN35K
— Gareth Harford (@GarethHarford) May 15, 2023
M Marquez: https://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2023/05/14/free-late-heartbreak-for-marc-marquez-in-podium-fight/455447
A Marquez & Marini: https://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2023/05/14/free-marini-alex-marquez-contact-sees-both-go-down/455442
Vinales & Bagnaia: https://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2023/05/14/free-bagnaia-vinales-clash-in-early-french-gp-crash/455440
Here’s how MotoGP race panned out in French GP
Here’s how MotoGP sprint panned out in French GP