Round 10 of the 2020 MotoGP Championship took place on the 9-11 October at Le Mans, France.
The Championship leader, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed pole position for Sunday’s race having snatched the lead on the final lap of qualifying from Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) making up the front row of the grid.
The starting grid for the race looked like this:
Row 1 : Quartararo : Miller : Petrucci Row 2 : Crutchlow : Vinales : Dovizioso
Row 3 : Bagnaia : P.Espargaro : Zarco Row 4 : Rossi : Morbidelli : Oliveira
Row 5 : Nakagami : Mir : A.Espargaro Row 6 : Rins : Binder : A.Marquez
Row 7 : Smith : Lecuona : Bradl Row 8 : Rabat
With 26 laps of racing, the red lights go out and the racing begins with the pole sitter, Quartararo not getting off to a great start and by Turn 1 he is in third place behind the Ducati’s of Miller and Dovizioso with Petrucci in 4th place but then Petrucci takes Quartararo pushing him down into 5th place. At Turn 3 Rossi goes down and that is the end of what was an extremely short race for him.
By the end of a very busy lap 1, three Ducati’s are leading the race with Petrucci now in the lead. As we go into lap 2, P.Espargaro takes Quartararo but he manages to grab the place straight back.
Lap 3 sees Rins take Crutchlow and P.Espargaro has another go at taking Quartararo and this time he manages to make the place stick despite nearly taking Quartararo out in the process. Rins follows P.Esparagaro too and the following lap Crutchlow passes and another place is lost for Quartararo with Smith now having a look to get past and he makes his move down the inside and the pole sitter is now down in 8th position.
Just at the end of lap 4, Marquez goes down the outside of both Quartararo and Oliveira taking him up to 8th place and he is hunting down Smith and on lap 6 he makes a smooth pass up into 7th place.
Rins has put in the fastest lap and is closing the gap on the Ducati’s. Smith goes down in the gravel on lap 10 and we can see him crawling away from his bike.
By lap 12 the gap between Rins and third place Miller is now down to 0.5 seconds and the following lap Rins goes up the inside of Miller into 3rd but Miller fights back and takes the place back but Rins is not giving up and is right on the heels of Miller.
The following lap we see Rabat crash out thus ending his race and Marquez zips past Crutchlow into 6th place. On lap 15 Rins has another go at passing Miller and this time he makes the place stick but not for long as by the end of the lap Miller has the place back again. Marquez has put in the fastest lap and is closing the gap on P.Espargaro and by lap 17 he is right on his tail. Morbidelli crashes into the dirt at turn 4.
At the end of the start/finish straight on lap 18 Dovizioso makes his move on Petrucci and takes the lead and Rins takes Miller but Miller fights straight back and keeps hold of his 3rd place. Crutchlow crashes out ending his race. Just before the end of the lap, Dovizioso, Miller, Rins and Petrucci enter the corner pretty much all together, Dovizioso runs wide allowing Petrucci into 1st place with Rins 2nd and Miller 3rd.
Lap 19 Miller passes Rins into 2nd place but then something lets go on his bike and he pulls over to the side and retires from the race. Marquez has now taken P.Espargaro and is up in 4th place but the following lap Rins crashes at Turn 3 and Marquez is now up to 3rd place.
By lap 22 Petrucci has a 1.6 second lead over the Dovizioso in 2nd place and seems to have the race under control. Rins has managed to rejoin the race with the help of the marshals but he appears to have a marshals strap caught on the tail of his bike. He is flagged to pull over, he removes the strap and rejoins the race again.
On lap 24 Dovizioso runs wide allowing Marquez to go through into 2nd place, Dovizioso is desperately looking to regain the place but Marquez is holding him off for now. The penultimate lap P.Espargaro takes Dovizioso into 3rd place and Oliveria is having a look too and manages to get past but doesn’t keep the place and goes back down to 5th.
The final lap sees P.Espargaro closing the gap on Marquez but Marquez just needs to hold him for the remainder of the lap. Petrucci has control of the race and takes the chequered flag followed by a very jubilant Marquez in 2nd and P.Espargaro in 3rd.
Phew! That was an exciting and very busy race which unfortunately saw race retirements from Miller, Morbidelli, Crutchlow, Rabat, Smith and Rossi.
Makes sure you set your alarms for the next race which takes place in Aragon on the 16-18 October.
Featured image courtesy of Ducati