The metronome returned as Jorge Lorenzo showed his intentions in the Grand Prix de France with the fastest ever lap of the Le Mans circuit by a MotoGP bike yesterday and today he backed it up with his second victory of the season, his first since the opening round in Qatar. His rivals dropped away until only Valentino Rossi was left upright, Andrea Iannone the first to slide out of second place before Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez both went down in the same corner. Maverick Viñales picked his way through the carnage to claim his first MotoGP podium in a race that saw just thirteen riders make the finish, with seven of the top nine coming from Spain. Márquez picked himself up from his crash to claim thirteenth, with Tito Rabat the only other Spaniard outside that top nine.
Aspar Team rider Eugene Laverty continued with his points-scoring run, which now stretches to five races. The Irishman’s consistency has taken him to ninth in the championship, even after a race today that saw him suffer a technical problem in the early stages of the 28 laps. Laverty produced a similar pace to Petrucci, who finished seventh, and has cited his qualifying performances as the key to better results in future. Yonny Hernández’s race ended on the seventh lap when he was lapping in twelfth place. The Colombian had shown strong pace in this morning’s warm-up but was unable to convert it into a good result and is now focused on turning his misfortune around in the next race at Mugello in two weeks’ time.
Mechanical problem from mid-race meant I had to nurse it home to 11th. Unfortunate as we had the pace for 7th today. pic.twitter.com/pRisxtr8Pm
— Eugene Laverty (@eugenelaverty) May 8, 2016
11th Eugene Laverty: “I made a decent start and I was up there with Petrucci and Barbera and then I started to feel there was something wrong with the bike. From that point it was just a case of bringing it home. My good fortune in a way was the misfortune of other riders because I was still able to come through and pick up five points. Looking to the future we need to improve our performance over one lap in qualifying, to be in that top ten or twelve. Our race pace today was the same as Petrucci but he made it into Q2 and that makes a big difference. It seems this year I’m a Sunday man but I need to be a Saturday man too.”
Yonny Hernández (DNF): “In general it was a crash-strewn race. In my case I don’t know exactly what happened but we have looked at the telemetry and it seems I hit a bump and lost grip on the rear, which caused me to lose the front. I wasn’t expecting the crash because I wasn’t over the limit and I was just setting the same pace as in warm-up. The set-up of the bike was good and I felt comfortable. I could have finished with a good result and I was lapping twelfth when I crashed, so that is upsetting. So far this season has been tough but I am hoping to get out of this rut as soon as possible. We have been fast in testing and in practice but so far we have not been able to show it in a race. Now I am looking towards Mugello, leaving what happened here behind us and working hard with thirteen races still remaining.”