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MotoGP French Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch & more

Fabio Quartararo is on pole position at Le Mans after topping qualifying for the 2021 MotoGP French Grand Prix. Here’s how and when you can watch the race.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Home hero Quartararo took his third pole in a row by the narrowest of margins in a chaotic qualifying session held in damp but drying conditions, the Yamaha factory rider pipping team-mate Maverick Vinales by just 0.081s. 

Showing no signs of ill-effects after an operation to treat arm pump issues that cost him victory in the Spanish Grand Prix last time out, the Frenchman is determined to make up for a disappointing performance from pole in last year's race - held in wet conditions.

But the threat of rain on Sunday means Quartararo isn't overly optimistic about keeping his lead, predicting he "will not stay long in first position” if the tricky conditions on Saturday are repeated.

That could allow Spanish GP winner Jack Miller to capitalise at Quartararo's expense once more, the Ducati rider well-placed in third on the grid.

Despite taking a tumble in FP3 when he felt his knee "wanted to pop out", Franco Morbidelli made it three Yamahas in the top four on the satellite SRT Petronas machine, with Friday pace-setter Johann Zarco's Pramac Ducati and six-time world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) joining him on the second row.

Marquez had been on course to score a memorable first pole since his return from a long injury layoff, until late improvements dropped him to sixth, but he professed to be delighted with the "best dream" result all the same.

The LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami pipped factory stablemate Pol Espargaro to seventh, the latter feeling "pissed off" after crashing when on course to challenge the Yamahas for a front row spot.

Valentino Rossi put his 2021 woes behind him with an encouraging run to tenth spot, but still felt he was too conservative on his best effort, while Q2 faller Miguel Oliveira (KTM), Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) and Luca Marini (Avintia Ducati) completed the top 12.

A disappointing day for Suzuki left both reigning world champion Joan Mir and Alex Rins mid-pack in 14th and 15th positions.

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

When is the MotoGP French Grand Prix?

Date: Sunday 16th May 2021
Start time: 1:00pm BST, 2:00pm local time

How can I watch the French MotoGP?

In the United Kingdom, the French GP race day will be broadcast live on both ITV4 and BT Sport.

TV Channel: ITV4
Channel number: Freeview – 25
Channel number: Sky – 120 HD, 818 SD
Channel number: Virgin Media – 178 HD, 118 SD
Channel number: Freesat – 117
Start time: 9:30am BST

For the first time since 2013, MotoGP will be shown live on free-to-air television in the UK with the French MotoGP race day broadcast on ITV4.

ITV4, which currently broadcasts highlights of each grand prix weekend on the Monday after a race, will air MotoGP’s live world feed on Sunday covering the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races. Coverage will start from 9:45am UK time ahead of the start of the Moto3 race.

On BT Sport, which has live broadcasting television rights for the entire 2021 MotoGP season, the race will be shown live on BT Sport 2, with race coverage starting at 12:30pm BST, directly after the Moto2 race. BT Sport will also be showing the MotoE and Moto3 races from Le Mans.

TV Channel: BT Sport 2
Channel number: Sky – 414
Channel number: Virgin Media – 528
Start time: 12:30pm BST

MotoGP also offers its own live online video streaming service which is available to stream in the UK.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

How can I watch the French MotoGP highlights?

ITV4 will show the highlights of each MotoGP round in 2021, including highlights of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, which will be broadcast on each Monday evening after the race.

TV Channel: ITV4
Channel number: Freeview – 25
Channel number: Sky – 120 HD, 818 SD
Channel number: Virgin Media – 178 HD, 118 SD
Channel number: Freesat – 117
Start time: Monday 17th May - 8:00pm BST
What's the weather forecast for the race at Le Mans?

Cloudy and cold conditions are forecast for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday afternoon, with a strong chance of rain and a high of 16 degrees Celsius for the start of the race.

Cla Rider Time Gap
1 France Fabio Quartararo 1'32.600  
2 Spain Maverick Viñales 1'32.681 0.081
3 Australia Jack Miller 1'32.704 0.104
4 Italy Franco Morbidelli 1'32.766 0.166
5 France Johann Zarco 1'32.877 0.277
6 Spain Marc Marquez 1'33.037 0.437
7 Japan Takaaki Nakagami 1'33.120 0.520
8 Spain Pol Espargaro 1'33.150 0.550
9 Italy Valentino Rossi 1'33.391 0.791
10 Portugal Miguel Oliveira 1'33.867 1.267
11 Italy Lorenzo Savadori 1'34.258 1.658
12 Italy Luca Marini 1'34.265 1.665
13 Spain Aleix Espargaro 1'43.418 10.818
14 Spain Joan Mir 1'43.422 10.822
15 Spain Alex Rins 1'43.523 10.923
16 Italy Francesco Bagnaia 1'43.530 10.930
17 Italy Danilo Petrucci 1'43.857 11.257
18 Spain Iker Lecuona 1'44.324 11.724
19 Spain Alex Marquez 1'45.146 12.546
20 Spain Tito Rabat 1'45.590 12.990
21 South Africa Brad Binder 1'45.911 13.311
22 Italy Enea Bastianini 1'46.123 13.523

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