If the drama started at the end of the race in Moto3, the intermediate class got it out of the way from the start, with front row qualifier Xavi Vierge suffering a fuel pump failure and having to start from the back of the grid. That was a big part of the entertainment throughout the race but it made no difference to the winner, Pecco Bagnaia becoming the first rider to win a Moto2 race at Le Mans from pole position. Alex Marquez did his best to stop that until the (almost) very end but eventually accepted second position. He was joined on the podium by teammate Joan Mir, who scored his first rostrum in the class and could have even hoped for more had it not been for a few first lap battles.
Poleman Bagnaia had the perfect start while several riders were trying to help themselves to the gap left by Vierge. Marquez was the most successful, immediately on the tail of Bagnaia, while front row starter Lorenzo Baldassarri dropped to fifth. Marquez was already making small mistakes here and there and gave half a second’s breather to Bagnaia up front. The Spaniard did not need a lot of time to make up for that time but Marcel Schrotter behind him was starting to drop back, nearly a second behind the leading duo by the end of lap two.
The gap went up to two seconds by the end of lap six and the German had Mir and Baldassarri to contend with for the provisional podium spot. The challenge halved one lap later, Baldassarri crashing out in turn three after posting the fastest lap of the race. Meanwhile, Romano Fenati was keeping quiet one second behind and then another second down the road, the Red Bull KTMs were doing battle until Binder’s avoiding action following Baldassarri’s tumble pushed him back to ninth.
A bit further back, Vierge was already doing wonders and was up into eleven position by lap six. Mattia Pasini had opposing fortunes, crashing out of ninth place soon after. Vierge continued his ruthless charge and was soon trailing Oliveira’s sixth place by nearly two seconds.
At the halfway mark, Bagnaia and Marquez were still holding station at the front, but Schrotter had fallen four seconds back and struggling to keep Mir at bay. Fenati was still being unusually low key in fifth, three seconds behind the podium battle and with Oliveira one second back. But rather than worrying about the Portuguese rider, it was Vierge who was mounting a challenge for the Italian’s fifth place after getting past Oliveira one lap later.
Mir finally made it past Schrotter with 11 laps to go, and the German soon had to worry about his own teammate. Vierge got past Fenati with eight laps left and had a go at the gap of 2.8 seconds to his Dynavolt teammate. Fenati quickly lost another place to Oliveira but seemed pretty safe ahead of local boy Fabio Quartararo, who was four seconds down the road.
With six laps to go, Marquez dropped out one second behind Bagnaia for the first time despite still setting red sectors, while Mir and Schrotter had comfortable gaps around them. After a few hairy moments, Marquez finally gave up the fight in the final couple of laps and let Bagnaia cruise to victory. Mir got a bit closer to his teammate but had a lonely ride to third. Vierge could not hunt down his own teammate for fourth but instead became bait for Oliveira on the last lap. The Spaniard did hold on to fifth and 30 places was a good enough recovery, while the Portuguese rider settled for sixth.
Fenati got a comfortable seventh place in the end, ahead of an excellent result for Quartararo in eighth. Binder dropped to ninth and the top ten was completed by a fairly impressive Stefano Manzi, the Italian having started 23rd.
Bagnaia keeps the lead in the championship heading to his home race, while Oliveira and Marquez have benefited from Baldaassarri’s costly mistake. The KTM rider is 25 points down on Bagnaia, with Marquez 31 points behind and Baldassari 34 points back.
|8||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||+14.585|
|15||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+25.996|
|16||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||+29.267|
|21||52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||+46.052|
|27||80||Cedric TANGRE||Tech 3||+1'36.542|
|21||Federico FULIGNI||Kalex||15 Laps|
|14||Hector GARZO||Tech 3||15 Laps|
|7||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI||Kalex||17 Laps|
|27||Iker LECUONA||KTM||19 Laps|
|9||Jorge NAVARRO||Kalex||20 Laps|
|51||Eric GRANADO||Suter||24 Laps|
|10||Luca MARINI||Kalex||24 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|32||Isaac VIÑALES||Kalex||0 Lap|