MotoGP: Martin Cruises to Sprint Race Victory in Le Mans

Jorge Martin has further extended his championship lead thanks to a Sprint Race victory at the French GP. He enjoyed a fairly easy race, with no real competition, as he cruised to the chequered flag. After being fastest in Friday practice, taking pole position and now this win, it’s been a perfect weekend so far for the Spaniard.

His main competition was Marco Bezzecchi who spent most of the race in 2nd place. At lap 6, he looked to be closing in on the leader but, after facing huge pressure from Marc Marquez, he went down at turn 9 on lap 10. It’s a disappointing result for the VR46 rider who looked to be much more on the pace this weekend and is finally showing us his true colours after a tough start to the season.

Instead, it was Marc Marquez who came home in 2nd place. It was an amazing result for Marquez, after a mistake in qualifying meant he didn’t make it through to Q2. He was forced to start from 13th on the grid but, in a matter of corners, he had thrown his Gresini bike up to 6th. By lap 2, he was in 4th and was soon gifted two more places after Aleix Espargaro faced a double long lap penalty for a jump start and Bezzecchi crashed out. Marquez was understandably thrilled with this result and was thumping his first to his chest as he crossed the line.

The final podium spot was claimed by Maverick Vinales who has looked to be on good form this weekend. However, speaking after the race, he told media that his race was more focused on defending, rather than attacking. There will be work for him tomorrow if he wants to recreate this result in the main race.

It was a day to forget for reigning champion, Pecco Bagnaia. He crashed in this morning’s qualifying session and then had to retire from the race with an undisclosed technical issue. As the race started, Bagnaia was quickly swallowed up by the grid and dropped from 2nd to 15th in only a few corners. He then had a moment on lap 3, heading off the track and into the run-off area at Museum Corner, which dropped him to last place before retiring a lap later.

Not only was it a bad race result, but it also drops him down to 3rd in the championship. He is leap-frogged by Enea Bastianini who came home in 4th place today. It was a much-needed positive day today for the Ducati rider, with so many ongoing discussions about who will partner with Bagnaia at that team next year.

Pedro Acosta continues his scoring record – he is the only rider on the grid to score points in every race and sprint race so far this season. He came home in 6th place but was very lucky to meet the chequered flag – he had a huge moment at turn 13 of the penultimate lap and did incredibly well to keep the bike upright.

Tomorrow’s race will be double the length with double the points on offer. Can Pecco Bagnaia make amends and get his title fight back on track? Or will Jorge Martin round out a truly perfect weekend?

Full Results:
Image Credit: MotoGP on X
Championship Standings:
Image Credit: MotoGP on X

Feature Image Credit: Jorge Martin on X

Moto3: Alonso Takes Pole In Le Mans!

Image Credit: MotoGP

3rd pole position in a row for the Colombian sensation David Alonso (CFMOTO Aspar Team)! Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) qualified in 2nd and after qualifying said he was ready to fight for victory tomorrow. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rounded off the front row after a great qualifying session in 3rd.

20 laps on Sunday around this circuit and the top 2 in the championship are up for the fight. The Moto 3 heavyweights can’t wait to fight it out for victory tomorrow. 

Image Credit: @AsparTeam on X
Image Credit: @AsparTeam on X


Qualifying 1

The session got underway in glorious sunshine at Le Mans, and as the first set of times were posted, it was Luca Lunetta (SIC58 Squadra Corse) leading the way from Filippo Farioli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) 2nd, David Almansa (Rivacold Snipers Team) 3rd and Jacob Roulstone (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) in 4th.

Nicola Carraro (MTA Team) shot to the top with 8mins left of the session. With the top 4 order ever changing in the Q1 session, it was shaping up for a last minute fight to get through to Q2.

Carraro went down in the Dunlop chicane and yellow flags a plenty in sector 1 as Carraro was in a hurry to get back up and running on his bike.

As everyone headed into the pits to catch their breath before their final runs, it was still Carraro at the top with Lunetta 2nd, Roulstone 3rd and Farioli sat in 4th.

Under 5mins left of the session and British rider Scott Ogden (MLav Racing) blasted his way to the top of the timings as Tatsuki Suzuki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Ogden pushed on as the rest of the field filtered back out of the pits. Only 2 tenths of a second separated the top 6 riders at this point.

Last chance for the riders as the chequered flag waved and Lunetta managed to sneak into 2nd as Suzuki also managed to knock out Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) at the end of the session. The top 4 heading through to Q2 were Roulstone, Lunetta, Ogden and Suzuki.

Qualifying 2

Roulstone fresh from Q1 lead the way early on at the top of the timings on provisional pole. As the rest of the field completed their first runs, it was Jose Antonio Rueda at the top with Alonso a tenth behind in 2nd and Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) on the front row in 3rd.

Just under 8mins left of the session and Alonso took command and into provisional pole with Rueda 2nd and Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets – MSI) up to 3rd. It was heating up to be a fantastic battle for pole position here at Le Mans.

Race winner last time out in Jerez, Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) went up to provisional pole as the rest of the riders were sat in the pits. Alonso just +0.001 behind Veijer with just over 4mins left of the session.

Every rider was now pushing to the limits as several riders all lit up sectors red with just 2mins left of the session. Championship leader Holgado marched up to provisional pole just ahead of Rueda 2nd and Alonso in 3rd at this stage. Just one more final flying lap attempt remained.

Colombia vs Spain and the top 2 in the championship, Alonso and Holgado were neck and neck in the final seconds of the session. Alonso snatched pole position away from Holgado with a stunning 1:40.114. Holgado just +0.011 seconds behind Alonso in 2nd. Alonso on pole, Holgado 2nd and Rueda rounding off the front row in 3rd for tomorrow’s race.

Holgado lead every lap last season at the French Grand Prix and will be hoping for the same tomorrow. 3 pole positions in a row for David Alonso! Can Alonso convert the pole position into a win tomorrow?

Top 10

Image Credit: MotoGP
Image Credit: MotoGP

Rally Portugal 2024 – Day One Report – Friday

The first full day of competition and after the first stage on Thursday Thierry held the lead by a slender six tenths of a second from Seb and Ott.

First stage then, SS2 Mortágua 1 – 18.15 km and Thierry opened the road and found some good pace out there. The stage was narrow and also had damp sections in places. Only one driver was fastest than the Belgian and that was Takamoto. He was fastest of all whilst Ott was third, Thierry between them both. The pace from the Japanese driver lifted him up to second overall, just eight tenths behind Thierry. In WRC2 Oliver was fastest, but as Pepe crashed out behind him, all the other crews were given a notional time.

Onto SS3 Lousã 1 – 12.28 km and Dani showed he was back and in a big way winning the stage from Kalle and Ott. Thierry was seventh fastest and dropped from the lead to third overall. Ott was now ahead of his teammate and in second place, just 1.5 seconds from Takamoto. In WRC2 Pierre-Louis was fastest from Josh and Gus. Oliver remained in the lead of the category from Gus and Yohan.

Dani also won SS4 Góis 1 – 14.30 km from Kalle and Adrien. Takamoto was still in the lead from Ott and Kalle had now moved up into third overall with Thierry falling one position to fourth. Dani was also on the move with his stage winning pace bringing him up to fifth overall. The morning was not going well for Elfyn as his lack of pace saw him fall three positions to eighth overall. In WRC2 there was a change for the lead as Gus went fastest from Pierre-Louis and Yohan. Oliver could only manage the fifth best time and fell to second place, the gap between the Toksport teammates now 2.7 seconds.

The final stage before the tyre fitting zone, there was no mid-day service today, SS5 Arganil 1 – 18.72 km and Thierry was fastest from Kalle and Takamoto. The Belgians pace took him back into second overall. In WRC2 Oliver was fastest from Pierre-Louis and Yohan. This pace took the Swede back into the lead, a huge 8.7 seconds ahead of Gus.

After the break, the stages were run in the opposite direction with SS6 Lousã 2 – 12.28 km coming the first afternoon stage. Seb was fastest from Kalle and Dani. It was all change on the leaderboard with Kalle passing Takamoto who fell from the lead but only by one tenth of a second separated them. Thierry also fell down again to fifth place, but only 3.9 seconds separated the top five. In WRC2 Pierre-Louis was fastest from Yohan and Gus. Oliver remained the category leader but saw his lead trimmed to four seconds.

Dani made SS7 Góis 2 – 14.30 km his, winning the stage, his third of the day from Seb and Kalle. The gap at the top remained really close with Takamoto still just two tenths of a second from Kalle who still led. Dani went past Thierry into fifth place as well. Meanwhile Elfyn and Scott’s day got worse as first there was a puncture and then a problem with the pace notebook and Scott had to use his mobile phone in which he had a back-up. At least they remained in eighth overall. In WRC2 Gus was again fastest from Yohan and Sami and the Brit retook the lead by three tenths from Oliver.

Kalle was fastest in SS8 Arganil 2 – 18.72 km from Ott and Takamoto and just one second separated the two Toyota teammates. Ott was also moving up, passing Seb for third overall. In WRC2 Oliver struck back, passing Gus again for the lead, just one tenth again separating them. What a battle!

The final stage then, SS9 Mortágua 2 – 18.15 km and Seb was quickest from Kalle and Ott and this led to a change in the positions behind Kalle who remained in the lead, his closest challenger being Seb now who was a second behind his teammate and Takamoto was third.

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from some of the crews.

Classification after Day One

1 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid 1:25.00.4
2 S. Ogier V. Landais Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1.0
3 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +4.7
4 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +5.4
5 D. Sordo C. Carrera Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +17.9
6 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +18.1
7 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +31.8
8 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:43.2
9 G. Munster L. Louka Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +2:27.3
10 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +3:42.1

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
Kalle Rovanperä

“It was a great battle today. It was nice to finish it fighting with Seb and there are many drivers still close behind us. I can’t be fully happy with the day as it was a bit of a struggle in places, but we had a clean day and I think we made the most out of it. With no mid-day service today, there are still some things we can work on with the car tonight. Hopefully we can find a bit more feeling and pace and tomorrow can be even better. There’s going to be another long day of pushing ahead and we need to be sharp already from the first stage.”

Sébastien Ogier

“It’s been very close today and exciting for everyone to follow. It was surprising to see the conditions so consistent for everybody in the morning and still the gaps are closer than we usually see on gravel. The feeling was a bit better this afternoon with a better rhythm, and our tyre choice was more aggressive with only one spare and that probably helped our speed. We needed to push in the last stage after an issue with the hybrid in the previous one, as we knew our position tonight was critical for the starting place tomorrow. We could produce a good time, and now we need to keep pushing.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“It has not been an easy day. This morning we were leading but still I wasn’t completely happy with my driving. In the afternoon it was better, I tried to make less mistakes and it went well. I was lacking a bit of pace in some stages, but overall, I should be happy because we are in third place and not too far from the lead. It was so tight between all the drivers, competing against world champions and with everybody pushing, so it’s been a fun day. Tomorrow will be more challenging with some different conditions, but I will try to enjoy the driving and keep pushing.”

Elfyn Evans

“It wasn’t the day we hoped for today. We were missing the ultimate feeling behind the wheel and with that came some time loss, and then we had a few different issues this afternoon on top of that. To lose the pacenote book was not ideal but it’s one of those things; Scott is well-prepared and had a backup on his phone, he dealt with it remarkably well and it wasn’t disturbing things too much. In terms of the overall result, it’s looking like a difficult weekend for us now, but we have to keep going. It’s important to try and find a good feeling with the car and be ready to fight for some points on Sunday.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak

“We had a trouble-free day which is definitely very positive, but on the other side I would say we never really found the feeling we needed in the car. I was pushing and trying to manage it, but generally it was not working out how I wanted. The balance isn’t there, which naturally I feel like it should be. Everybody is very close because the stages are so well known, the characteristics will be very different but it’s still difficult to make a difference when everyone is on the same page. Let’s see what we can do overnight.”

Dani Sordo

“I think today was a tough day for everybody. When you are facing that many stages and you spend that much time in the car, it’s never easy. Despite that everything felt really good in the car, winning three stages at my first rally back since Japan last year is a great start for the rest of the weekend. We know we dropped a bit of time on the last stages of the day, but we will push tomorrow to make up for it. Tomorrow is even longer, so we have plenty of opportunities.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 05, Rally de Portugal
9 – 12 Mai 2024
Dani Sordo
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“Whilst I would say the stages this year are much more enjoyable; they are definitely harder to navigate. This paired with the fact that I was cleaning the road all day meant that there was no way to go much faster. Despite this, it was a good day for us, and we did as much as we could in these conditions. The car was working well and opting for the two softs this afternoon was definitely the right decision in helping us go faster in our road position. Tomorrow we are hoping to push to try and make the most out of our runs once again.”



Oliver Solberg

“It’s been quite a good day for us. There have been some issues here and there, some small things with the car, but we are leading, and this is the only thing which matters!

“We knew the roads would be quite rough and abrasive for us and this was definitely the story today. We have been playing with the tyre strategy, trying to make sure we can look after the tyres we have. It’s not always so easy when you are driving with this kind of thing in the mind, but you have to do it.


“Obviously we didn’t have the main service today, it was just a remote tyre zone – so we couldn’t make any big changes or work on the car. You have to keep this in the head as well when you’re driving. But OK, we are here.


“It’s good to end the day with another stage win, I like that. Now we can look forward to tomorrow.”



Day Two – Saturday

The second full day will also see the crews tackle 145km’s over nine stages. Who will hold the lead at the end of the day?

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