Francesco Bagnaia took an fantastic win in sunny Le Mans, France to extend his lead in the championship.
Xavi Vierge would not start the race from his second place grid position, as his bike had a fuel pump problem. Therefore he would start from the back.
From the start the holeshot was taken by Bagnaia, closely followed by Lorenzo Baldassarri. Hector Garzo on the Tech 3 would get a ride-through penalty for a jump start. Baldassarri would then make contact with Joan Mir and drop back, promoting Alex Marquez to second. Marcel Schrotter would be third. Isaac Vinales would not finish the first lap, jumping off on the final corner. Luca Marini would pit, in order to get rid of a penalty for Mugello as he is still injured. The two Red Bull KTM boys would start brilliantly, with Brad Binder being fourth and Miguel Olivera being sixth. Baldassarri would then make a huge mistake, thus dropping down to seventh. Iker Lecuona would crash at turn six, thus ending his race. Jorge Navarro would also not finish, going down at the tricky turn eight, closely followed by Mattia Pasini at the same turn, although Pasini would remount and end up 19th.
On lap five, Vierge had already managed to work his way up to tenth, passing Sam Lowes and setting a hot pace. However the hottest pace was being set by Baldassarri. But then ‘Balda’ took way to many liberties with the front end going into turn three, and paid the price, going down and falling way out of the points, and eventually pulling into the pits. Vierge would continue his climb up the leaderboard to seventh. Stefano Manzi on the sole remaining Forward Racing Suter would tag onto the back of Vierge and follow him through the pack to eighth place, the highest he had ever been on the bike. There were three clear groups at this point, with Bagnaia and Marquez being at the front, followed by Schrotter and Mir. Then came the group containing the magnificent Romano Fenati and Vierge, as well as both the Red Bull KTM’s and Manzi. Home hero Fabio Quartararo was in tenth place, showing much better than his languishing team mate Danny Kent, who could not make the Speed Up work. The jump starter Garzo would then not finish, going down at turn 13.
With ten laps to go, it seemed Lowes had developed a problem, as he was plummeting through the pack and out of the points, as Vierge got past Olivera for sixth. Mir would pass Schrotter for third place at turn three, proving that he has hit the ground running on the bigger bike and why he is the reigning Moto3 champion. Manzi passed Binder for a brilliant eighth place with eight laps to go, as Vierge continued his unbelievable climb up the leaderboard, taking fifth place from the equally impressive Fenati. Olivera would use his late race pace to get past Fenati too, as Joe Roberts disappointingly crashed his NTS out of a points scoring position at the infamous turn eight. Bagnaia would pull the pin with six laps to go, seemingly breaking Marquez and taking the gap from 0.2 seconds to 1.4 seconds in two laps. Khairul Idham Pawi would be in the final point scoring position.
It seemed like the race had plateaued with two laps to go, the only movement seemed to be Olivera once again having the late race pace, and was vying to be the first person in the race to overtake Vierge, for fifth place. He would not succeed however, Vierge managing to just about hold on. Bagnaia would control the pace to win, and be the first ever person in Moto2 to win from pole position at Le Mans. Marquez would settle for second place, saying afterwards he had to manage the bike as it had a small problem. Mir would magnificently round out the podium, his first in the class. Home rider Quartararo would finish in a fantastic eighth place.
The championship would start to now take it’s proper shape, with Bagnaia having a full 25 point lead over Olivera going into his home round at Mugello. Will Bagnaia be able to extend his lead at the hallowed ground, or will the pack be able to claw their way back to him? On this form, ‘Pecco’ looks to be the championship favourite, proving why Pramac Ducati moved him up to the premier class for 2019. Find out the results from Mugello here on Overtake Motorsport!
Full results here.
Championship standings here.