Sam Lowes got off to a strong start in the first session of practice for the Moto2 class, the Marc VDS rider setting a fast lap early on and holding on until the end. It was only until the latter stages of the session that the other riders started to close the gap, Lowes' advantage standing at nearly a second for most of FP2.
As always Moto2/3 delivered a wide range of talking points at the French Grand Prix. Sunday’s results threw up a host of surprises. With just five races remaining, both championships remain finely poised. Here, we take a look through some of the big talking points from both classes.
Moto2 start line mix up explained
The race began in bizarre circumstances as pole sitter Joe Roberts was dragged off the grid, started the warm up lap from pit lane, and then watched the race get underway before he had a chance to line up on the grid.
So what the hell happened? Well, the intermediate class followed MotoGP on Sunday afternoon. The track was wet but drying rapidly. The majority of Moto2 riders left pit lane for their sighting lap on wet tyres but soon realised only slicks would do. The grid then became a flurry of activity as teams not only changed tyres, but adjusted their bikes from wet to dry setup.
The American Racing Team attempted too much. The rules state, “All adjustments must be completed by the display of the 3-Minute board. After this board is displayed, riders who still wish to make adjustments must push their machine to the pit lane.” As that board was raised, a highly bemused Roberts and his machine were shown off the grid.
Jake Dixon’s exit from Sunday’s Moto2 race was gut-wrenching and proved there’s no tougher road than the road to MotoGP glory
I’ve always had special respect for British riders who break out of road-bike racing to have a crack at MotoGP.
Since the mid-1980s, most Britons start out racing road bikes and keep racing road bikes to the end of their careers, ending up in World Superbikes if they’re fast enough.
Moto2 standings after Le Mans:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Le Mans:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Le Mans:
The intermediate class enjoyed their first fully dry session of the weekend on Saturday morning but that did not seem to halt the gravel trap party at all. Joe Roberts spent most time at the top of the timing screens, with brief interruptions from the likes of Jorge Navarro and Marco Bezzecchi, but the American retook the lead on his penultimate flying lap, going on to crash at turn 8 on his final flying lap. One tenth down on the timesheets, Bezzecchi also closed the session with a tumble at turn 13, while Augusto Fernandez joined the top three without any incident.
Although still on the chilly side, the Le Mans circuit had dried up nicely in time for the Moto2 show and it allowed the times to become more competitive. However, there was a bit of early drama as championship leader Luca Marini suffered a spectacular highside at turn 5, prompting a red flag for track clean-up. The Italian limped away and worryingly missed the remainder of the session as he visited the medical centre and then the local hospital with a suspected ankle injury.
The drizzle had stopped by the time the intermediate class took centre stage but the wet surface still gave us quite a few adventures in the gravel trap and a handful of noteworthy saves. One man who seemed to thrive in the conditions was Kasma Daniel, who put his name at the top of the timesheets on his final flying lap. The Malaysian rider demoted Hector Garzo to second position, a quarter of a second behind the leader but only three thousandths of a second ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri.