Cycling Motorcycling Martin wins French GP after intense battle with Bagnaia
Cycling Motorcycling Martin wins French GP after intense battle with Bagnaia

Cycling: Motorcycling-Martin wins French GP after intense battle with Bagnaia, Marquez steals second

LE MANS, France (Reuters) -MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin of Pramac Racing won the French Grand Prix on Sunday to complete a weekend double while Gresini Ducati’s Marc Marquez finished second with a final-lap overtake of reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia at Le Mans.

Bagnaia led for most of the race before pole sitter Martin regained the lead and powered to victory following an intense battle while Marquez, who started 13th on the grid, finished on the podium once again after Saturday’s sprint.

Martin’s victory, after his sprint win, moved him up to 129 points while Bagnaia is second, 38 points behind. Marquez’s consistency in the last two races moved him up to third in the standings, a further two points behind.

“I’m really happy, thanks to my team because the bike set-up was perfect. Getting two wins in Le Mans was the perfect weekend,” Martin said.

Bagnaia had a terrible start in Saturday’s sprint when he dropped outside the top 10 before retiring, but the Ducati rider stormed into the lead on Sunday’s opening lap after overtaking Martin while Marquez made up five positions to sit eighth.

Pedro Acosta attempted a risky overtake between Fabio Di Giannantonio and Aleix Espargaro but the rookie miscalculated and slid off the track three laps in — his first costly mistake in the premier class.

VR46 Racing’s Marco Bezzecchi also had a weekend to forget when he crashed once again, just as he had in the sprint when he was running second.

His team mate Di Giannantonio finally managed to move up to third ahead of Maverick Vinales before Marquez also overtook the Aprilia rider to sit fourth, as the teams and riders kept an eye on the skies with dark clouds looming over the circuit.

QUARTARARO CRASHES

Groans echoed through the grandstands when local hope Fabio Quartararo, aiming for his first top-six finish of the season, crashed his Yamaha with 11 laps to go.

Marquez doggedly chased Di Giannantonio and, after failing to get past with a daring overtake on the Dunlop chicane, the Spaniard finally squeezed through to move up to third when the VR46 Racing rider went wide.

Bagnaia and Martin battled for top spot and swapped positions, losing pace as they did which allowed Marquez to close the gap but Martin finally found a way past the reigning champion.

Bagnaia was the slowest of the three towards the end as Marquez got impatient but the six-times champion eventually elbowed his way past Bagnaia on the final lap to take second.

It was a near-perfect weekend for Marquez who went from 13th to second in the sprint as well as the race in what was Gresini’s 1,000th Grand Prix.

“It was a really nice comeback,” Marquez said. “In the end I tried to overtake Pecco (Bagnaia) and he was braking super late but on the last lap — you know me — I tried and this time I had the line.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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