Enea Bastianini convincing on way to Le Mans success in French MotoGP

Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini claimed his third win of the season as he blasted to a convincing victory in the Shark French GP at Le Mans.

By Maurice Montgomery
Monday, 16th May 2022, 3:00 am

It moves the Italian to within eight points of championship leader Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who could only manage fourth at his home Grand Prix.

Lenovo Ducati rider Jack Miller led from the lights into the first corner from Bastianini and his team-mate and pole-setter Pecco Bagnaia.

Before the end of the lap, however, both Bagnaia and Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins had passed Bastianini.

Enea Bastianini, winner of the Shark French MotoGP, with runner-up Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro.

Lap three saw Rins out of the race and Bastianini back into third.

Bagnaia led from lap four but the eventual race winner was past Miller on lap 12 and had his sights set on his fellow Italian on the factory Ducati.

It all changed on lap 20 when the ‘Beast’ made his move at the Dunlop chicane.

Bagnaia fought straight back but Bastianini pressured Bagnaia into a rare mistake, running wide at ‘Garage Vert’ and then disaster struck the Lenovo Ducati rider as he slid out of the race at the final corner, leaving Bastianini to take the flag nearly three seconds ahead of Miller, with Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro claiming his fourth podium of the season to close to within four points of Quartararo in the title race.

“I’m really happy about this race,” said Bastianini. “It was also unexpected because the weekend started really complicated for me, with three crashes.

“At the end, when I saw Pecco very close, I understand, ‘Okay, now you have to stay behind’.

“At the end, I tried to overtake him in the second corner to make Pecco a little bit nervous.

“In the end, he went long and I won this race.

“It’s all for my team because they work a lot at this Grand Prix to give me the best bike and it’s incredible, the job they did.”

From second on the grid, GASGAS Aspar Team rider Jake Dixon was hoping for a Moto2 podium.

Unfortunately, on lap four the British ace entered turn 13 carrying too much speed and lost the front end.

He did remount to nurse his machine home to 21st.

“Another difficult day,” said Dixon. “My mistake...I just entered the corner too fast.”

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez was a convincing Moto2 winner.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia was victorious in the Moto3 race, shortened to 14 laps after rain forced the red flags to be shown.

Ayumu Sasaki was second on the Sterlgarda Husqvarna and, in a last-ditch pass in sight of the flag, Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team rider Izan Guevara claimed the final podium place.

Dennis Foggia went from first to fourth on the final lap.

Brit John McPhee, returning from injury, finished 12th.