Morbidelli Le Mans
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli won his fourth race of the season in Moto 2 with a superb, front-running performance in the French Grand Prixat Le Mans.
It was a brilliant comeback after the disappointment of scoring zero points with a crash out of the previous race at Jerez and confirms that Morbidelli is the man to beat in the Moto2 World Championship.
Morbidelli held his nerve to hold off a strong late race challenge from fellow Italian Francesco Bagnaia to claim victory with a margin of 1.7 seconds.
Morbidelli set the fastest lap of the race and a new record for the 4.18km Bugatti Circuit of 1’38.836 on lap 21 as he held off Bagnaia’s surge.
Earlier Morbidelli had wrestled for the lead in the opening laps with Tom Lüthi but was in control of the lead from half distance of the 26-lap race run in sunny and warm conditions.
The French GP was a tribute to the tenacity of Álex Márquez who ignored the pain and discomfort of fracture in his left foot to finish a brave fourth.
Márquez only conceded the final podium position with five laps reaming after a long and tense battle with Lüthi.
Morbidelli leads the championship on 100 points after five rounds ahead of Tom Lüthi on 80 with Márquez moving into third place with 62 points.
Franco Morbidelli: 1st
“I am really happy because it was important to make a good race here after my bad Sunday in Jerez at the previous race. I wasn’t planning to win; I just wanted to stay with Lüthi, Bagnaia and Álex because they had a strong pace in practice. But from the start I had confidence and trust in my bike and decided to push and go for the win so thanks to my team for all the work to allow me to do this.”
Álex Márquez: 4th
“It has been a difficult weekend with the changeable weather and two crashes in practice and then with the pain in my foot for the race. But I think I did a good job and the podium was close but I just couldn’t make it today over the final laps. The main thing is I scored important points for the championship at a circuit where I normally struggle a little. I’m motivated to keep this mentality of scoring good points in every race.”
Michael Bartholemy – Team Principal
“It is a fantastic weekend with Franco winning and Álex just missing the podium in fourth position. Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS has now had one rider on the top step of the podium at all five races so far this season. The target before the race was for both riders to score points and we achieved that with Franco riding a great race out front and Álex fighting all the way despite his foot injury.”