Le Mans saved the best for last, as far as weather was concerned, meaning seventeen degrees and beautiful sun. As far as racing was concerned, the lightweight class race proved to be a bit of a mess. Romano Fenati, Jorge Martin and Joan Mir looked set to dispute the win after the start but disaster struck on lap two, when over half the riders went down in turn six after some fluid was left on track following first lap incidents.
The race was red flagged and a new sixteen-lap race was scheduled once the track had been cleaned and the riders declared fit – despite some scary bowling pin impersonations in the gravel trap at turn six. Championship leader Joan Mir did not get intimidated by the serious hit he took in the initial pile-up and registered a commanding win in Le Mans. The podium positions were disputed all throughout the race, Aron Canet and Fabio Di Giannantonio coming out on top to share the trophies with Mir.
That didn’t look to be the scenario at the start of the race though. Jorge Martin had managed to keep the lead the second time around but Fenati planned his attack one lap later and the duo started to build a little gap to the pursuers once again. The plot from the first race seemed to repeat for Martin, the poleman crashing out again in turn six on lap three.
Mir did not manage to replicate his great initial start and went backwards on the first lap of race two, before catching up to lead the chasing pack. He was left with one second to recover on Fenati, while putting in a gap of over three seconds on the rest of the group. His mission was simplified greatly when Fenati crashed out with nine laps to go. The Spaniard continued to increase his lead consistently, the gap reaching five seconds as his rivals were battling behind.
Marcos Ramirez and Darryn Binder continued to look like they belonged in the podium fight, the Platinum Bay duo rubbing elbows and fairings with Aron Canet for the final podium position. Binder was expected to be well rewarded for what was arguably the save of the year (yes, yet another one) until he crashed from second position with half a lap left to the checkered flag.
Di Giannantonio joined the podium fight in the final laps of the race, as Canet looked to be dropping back slightly. The Spanish rider recovered fast and reached the line a tenth in front of the Italian. Marcos Ramirez might be disappointed by narrowly missing the podium for the second consecutive race but he continued to show great potential and consistency.
First row starter Juanfran Guevara spent most of the race battling in the main group chasing Mir but never quite put in a serious podium threat and finished fifth, followed by a decent result for Enea Bastianini in sixth and Jules Danilo in seventh place. Despite the front row start, a very sore and bruised Nicolo Bulega lost a lot of ground at the start and only managed to bring the bike home in seventeenth position.
Mir’s win extends his already significant lead in the championship to 34 points, Fenati keeping second but only 2 points ahead of Canet. Both Martin and John McPhee drop a place in favour of the Estrella Galicia rider, Martin now 40 points down on the leader, McPhee a further 6 behind Martin.
|3||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+4.365|
|14||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||+16.405|
|40||Darryn BINDER||KTM||1 Lap|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||2 Laps|
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||2 Laps|
|23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||KTM||5 Laps|
|88||Jorge MARTIN||Honda||6 Laps|
|5||Romano FENATI||Honda||9 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||Mahindra||13 Laps|
|7||Adam NORRODIN||Honda||0 Lap|