LE MANS — The Italian Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia and the Australian Jack Miller, on Desmosedici GP22 paths, gave the manufacturer Ducati the double in the official classification for the French MotoGP Grand Prix at the Le Mans circuit.
The speed of the Ducati left no doubt about the superiority in this aspect of the prototypes of the manufacturer from Borgo Panigale, which ended up taking the first two positions and who came closest to them was the Spanish Aleix Espargaró at the handlebars of the Aprilia RS-GP , who was 159 thousandths of a second behind, with the world leader, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1), in fourth place, second row, along with Italian Enea Bastianini (Ducati Desmosedici GP21) and Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ducati Desmosedici GP22).
The Spanish Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda RC 213 V), eight times world champion, had to settle for tenth position and the best Honda of the starting line-up, once again making it clear that the Golden Wing manufacturer’s prototype is far from being on the same level as its main competitors.
Quartararo was the fastest in the fourth free practice session, the only one in which all the drivers focused their work on finding a good race pace, although for some it meant having a mishap again, such as the one starring the Spanish Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia RS-GP), who crashed at the beginning of the session, or fellow Spaniard Marc Márquez, who had two “complicated” moments.
The Repsol Honda rider went off the track at the beginning of the session at turn eight, but was able to return to it without major consequences to continue his pace work for the race, and almost at the end of the session, with Just two minutes of training ahead, he crashed at turn nine, with no damage to his physical integrity, but with the need to return to his workshop via the service road.
It was very curious to see how in his fall Marc Márquez protected his right arm by resting it on his chest to avoid any type of blow.
Jorge Martín and Joan Mir were the first references in the first classification, in which some of the “illustrious” riders of the category strenuously sought the pass to the second to guarantee themselves a good position in the starting formation, and in that Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati Desmosedici GP21) also got involved in the fight.
Martín chained up to three fast laps during the session, the last of them 1:30.804 which guaranteed him the pass to the second classification, followed by Joan Mir, 129 thousandths of a second slower, who were the ones who passed the round, although in the case of the Suzuki GSX RR by just seven thousandths of a second over the Italian Bezzecchi, with the Spanish Maverick Viñales (Aprilia RS-GP) in fourth position.
It didn’t take long for Fabio Quartararo to show that he wanted to be a “prophet in his land” to “excite” the thousands of fans present at Le Mans, and already with the first tire, on his third lap, he set a best time of 1:30.688 , which was 11 thousandths of a second faster than the record set by the Italian Bagnaia, with Jorge Martín in third place, but in his case almost four tenths of a second.
At that time the best Honda rider was Marc Márquez in tenth position, ahead of his teammate in the Repsol Honda team, Pol Espargaró, and the Japanese Takaaki Nakagami, who finished qualifying in that order, which relegated them to the fourth line of the starting formation.
After his first entry into the workshops, Marc Márquez changed his strategy and instead of “looking” for the wheel of one of his rivals – he did it in the morning with Fabio Quartararo – he decided to go out on the track alone.
The Ducati riders once again surprised by the speed of their Desmosedici by placing their two official riders in the first two positions, Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller, respectively.
The last lap was also the definitive attempt by many drivers to improve their position and with two fast lap sections Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia RS-GP) as well as Fabio Quartararo and the Italian Enea Bastianini tried, but none of them could lower the time of the two official Ducati riders, who starred in the “double” at Le Mans.