Tony Arbolino wins the red-flagged Moto2 French Grand Prix ahead of Filip Salac, who took his first podium in the dry, and Alonso Lopez following a three-rider crash on lap two.
After starting on pole, Sam Lowes had a good start, but Lopez was able to get past at turn two to take the lead of the race. Further down the field, Jake Dixon and Aron Canet brushed against each other but were both able to continue. Fermin Aldeguer was the big gainer during the first lap moving up from 11th place to fifth at the midway point of the lap.
Coming over the start-finish line for the first time, Arbolino overtook Lopez to lead the field. At turn two, Lowes caused a yellow flag after crashing when his front tyre locked. At the exit of turn five, Albert Arenas, Manuel Gonzalez and Canet were involved in a crash which initially resulted in a yellow flag followed by a red flag on lap 3.
Following the red flag, information was shared that all riders were conscious, and Canet was taken to the medical centre for further checks.
As three laps had not been completed, a shortened 14-lap race with original grid positions and a quick-start procedure was selected as the restart method. All riders were eligible for the restart.
All riders who were able to start the race made it out of the pitlane in time to start from their grid positions except for Lowes who was 5 seconds too late and therefore started the warmup lap from the pitlane and the race from the back of the grid.
From the restart, Arbolino got the best start and was able to take the race lead into the Dunlop Chicane. Pedro Acosta had a better restart the second time around moving up to fifth. Aldegueur was unable to make up as many places on the first lap, ending up in sixth place as he crossed the start-finish line.
Lopez and Acosta spent two laps fighting for second place which allowed Arbolino to break away from the rest of the field and Salac to catch them up. By lap four, Salac was able to get past Lopez, but Arbolino pulled out a 0.7-second lead over Acosta.
At turn 7 on lap 5, Acosta crashed out of second place promoting Salac to second place. Also on lap 5, Rory Skinner crashed out at turn 6.
Arbolino continued to extend the gap to 1.8s until he made a mistake on lap 6 allowing Salac to reduce the time between them to 0.7s.
Dixon was able to pass Aldeguer on lap 7, just before the Spanish rider received communication that he had received a long-lap penalty for taking a shortcut between turns 9 and 10. As Aldeguer completed his long-lap penalty, Sergio Garcia and Ai Ogura were able to pass him.
By lap 10, the gap between Arbolino and Salac had been at 0.5s at its lowest, and Salac kept setting laps faster than the Italian rider but was unable to do so before the chequered flag waved after fourteen laps. Lopez was able to cross the line in third place. Celestino Vietti finished just behind Lopez.
Dixon and Somkiat Chantra battled for fifth place until Dixon was able to pass the Thai rider at Garage Vert. Dixon and Chantra finished the race in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Barry Baltus was close behind the pair, crossing the line in seventh.
A few laps after his long-lap penalty, Aldeguer overtook the two riders who passed him earlier and finished 9 seconds behind the race winner.
After the crash during the first start, Lowes was able to salvage one point by finishing in 15th place.
|FRENCH MOTO2 GRAND PRIX, LE MANS – RACE RESULTS|
|1||Tony Arbolino||ITA||Elf Marc VDS Racing Team||(Kalex)||22m 34.233s|
|2||Filip Salac||CZE||QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2||(Kalex)||22m 34.853s|
|3||Alonso Lopez||SPA||Lightech SpeedUp||(Boscoscuro)||22m 35.770s|
|4||Celestino Vietti||ITA||Fantic Racing||(Kalex)||22m 36.426s|
|5||Jake Dixon||GBR||Inde GASGAS Aspar M2||(Kalex)||22m 37.274s|
|6||Somkiat Chantra||THA||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||(Kalex)||22m 38.408s|
|7||Barry Baltus||BEL||Fieten Olie Racing GP||(Kalex)||22m 43.086s|
|8||Fermín Aldeguer||SPA||Lightech SpeedUp||(Boscoscuro)||22m 43.670s|
|9||Ai Ogura||JPN||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||(Kalex)||22m 44.929s|
|10||Sergio Garcia||SPA||Pons Wegow Los40||(Kalex)||22m 45.050s|
|11||Lukas Tulovic||GER||Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact||(Kalex)||22m 45.821s|
|12||Joe Roberts||USA||Italtrans Racing Team||(Kalex)||22m 46.361s|
|13||Jeremy Alcoba||SPA||QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2||(Kalex)||22m 46.570s|
|14||Dennis Foggia||ITA||Italtrans Racing Team||(Kalex)||22m 47.294s|
|15||Sam Lowes||GBR||Elf Marc VDS Racing Team||(Kalex)||22m 47.928s|
|16||Sean Dylan Kelly||USA||American Racing||(Kalex)||22m 48.866s|
|17||Marcos Ramirez||SPA||Forward Team||(Forward)||22m 52.477s|
|18||Bo Bendsneyder||NED||Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team||(Kalex)||22m 54.113s|
|19||Senna Agius||AUS||Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact||(Kalex)||22m 56.848s|
|20||Zonta Vd Goorbergh||NED||Fieten Olie Racing GP||(Kalex)||22m 56.917s|
|21||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||ITA||Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team||(Kalex)||22m 59.498s|
|22||Izan Guevara||SPA||Inde GASGAS Aspar M2||(Kalex)||22m 59.580s|
|23||Borja Gomez||SPA||Fantic Racing||(Kalex)||23m 4.441s|
|Alex Escrig||SPA||Forward Team||(Forward)||DNF|
|Pedro Acosta||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||(Kalex)||DNF|
|Rory Skinner||GBR||American Racing||(Kalex)||DNF|
|Manuel Gonzalez||SPA||Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46||(Kalex)||DNS|
|Albert Arenas||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||(Kalex)||DNS|
|Aron Canet||SPA||Pons Wegow Los40||(Kalex)||DNS|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP