French MotoGP: Petrucci wins dramatic wet race ahead of Marquez, title rivals struggle

Ducati's Danilo Petrucci sensationally won a dramatic wet MotoGP French Grand Prix ahead of Honda rookie Alex Marquez, while title rivals Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir struggled

French MotoGP: Petrucci wins dramatic wet race ahead of Marquez, title rivals struggle

A heavy downpour just moments before the race was due to get underway forced a brief delay, with the race soon declared wet for the first time since the 2018 Valencia GP.

LCR's Cal Crutchlow held the lead very briefly on the run up the hill to the Dunlop chicane off the line, but it was Pramac's Jack Miller who grabbed the lead at Turn 3.

A crash for Valentino Rossi forced his Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales, Suzuki's Mir and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro to take avoiding action through the opening chicane - dropping Vinales and Mir out of the points.

Amidst the chaos, Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci on the factory Ducatis had moved in behind Miller, with poleman Quartararo fourth but soon he came under immense pressure from those behind him as he struggled on his Petronas SRT Yamaha in his first wet MotoGP race.

Petrucci found a way through on Miller at the Blue Esses towards the end of the first lap, with Dovizioso quickly following him through.

The leading Ducati trio quickly built up a buffer to the chasing pack, which was soon headed by Alex Rins on the Suzuki, who worked his way up to fourth from 16th on the grid by lap four once his medium rain tyres were up to temperature.

Rins then set about chasing down the Ducatis, and by lap 11 was under a second behind Miller.

The Suzuki finally found a way past Miller on lap 15 at Turn 3, though was re-passed at Garage Vert just a moment later.

On lap 18, Dovizioso made a successful move for the lead on Petrucci on the run through the first corner and would resist a counterattack at Garage Vert.

The two Ducati's exited the double right-hander side-by-side and touched at the following corner, while Rins launched up the inside of Dovizioso to take second behind Petrucci.

Miller's charge would come to a cruel end just a lap later when his Pramac GP20 expired on the following lap, while Rins would crash out of second at Turn 3 on the next tour.

This gave Petrucci a buffer of 2.7 seconds over Dovizioso, though his team-mate quickly wiped this gap out, while Marquez in his first wet race closed in.

Petrucci's lead came down to 1.2s on lap 23, but Dovizioso started to suffer from a lack of rear grip and was powerless to stop Marquez coming through at La Chapelle next time around.

Petrucci's lead remained intact across the final lap, and the Ducati rider made it across the line for his second MotoGP victory, making him the seventh different victor this season.

Rookie Marquez gave Honda its first podium in 2020 by finishing second having started from 18th, while Pol Espargaro completed the rostrum on the KTM after pipping Dovizioso late on.

Dovizioso managed to hold fourth despite his fading rear tyre, with Johann Zarco fifth on the Avintia Ducati on home soil ahead of Tech3's Miguel Oliveira.

Takaaki Nakagami was seventh on the LCR Honda head of factory RC213V rider Stefan Bradl, while Quartararo fended off Vinales and Mir on the last lap to salvage ninth.

Quartararo still extends his championship lead to 10 points over Mir, with Dovizioso 18 points adrift and one clear of Vinales.

Brad Binder's first wet race on the KTM ended in 12th, while Francesco Bagnaia was unable to rival his Ducati stablemates' form in 13th on his Pramac GP20. Aleix Espargaro and Tech3's Iker Lecuona scored the final points.

SRT's Franco Morbidelli crashed out after dropping to the rear of the field early on, while there were falls for Crutchlow, Aprilia's Bradley Smith and Avintia's Tito Rabat.

MotoGP French GP results - 26 laps

Pos Rider Team Gap
1 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 45m54.736s
2 Alex Marquez Honda 1.273s
3 Pol Espargaro KTM 1.711s
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 3.911s
5 Johann Zarco Avintia Ducati 4.310s
6 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 4.466s
7 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 5.921s
8 Stefan Bradl Honda 15.597s
9 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha 16.687s
10 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 16.895s
11 Joan Mir Suzuki 16.980s
12 Brad Binder KTM 27.321s
13 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati 33.351s
14 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 39.176s
15 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM 51.087s
- Alex Rins Suzuki Retirement
- Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Retirement
- Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Retirement
- Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Retirement
- Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Retirement
- Bradley Smith Aprilia Retirement
- Valentino Rossi Yamaha Retirement
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