Honda win their 300th Moto GP as Spain's Marc Marquez won his third of the season
Le Mans (France) (AFP) - Spain’s defending world champion Marc Marquez won the French MotoGP at Le Mans on Sunday, racking up Honda’s 300th victory in the division and completing a memorable family double after younger brother Alex took the Moto2 race.
It was Marquez’s 47th top level Grand Prix win and third of the season, finishing ahead of Italian pair Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci of Ducati.
For Japanese manufacturer Honda it was a 300th elite class victory, 53 years after Jim Redman secured their first.
Starting from pole, five-time MotoGP world champion Marquez won by almost two seconds from Dovizioso and now leads the overall standings after five rounds by eight points from the Italian Ducati rider.
He is 20 points ahead of Alex Rins, the Suzuki rider who was down in 10th on Sunday, while Italian veteran Valentino Rossi of Yamaha – fifth in the race – is fourth on 72 points.
“It’s always difficult at Le Mans,” Marquez said of the winding Bugatti circuit.
One rider who might agree with him is Spain’s Maverick Vinales, who ended up sliding out on the second factory Yamaha after a tangle with Francesco Bagnaia.
Earlier in the day, Alex Marquez won the Moto2 race ahead of fellow Spaniards Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernandez while championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri crashed out.
It was the 23-year-old’s fourth career win and first since 2017.
“I’m happy to win but even happier because my brother won in Moto 2,” said Marc Marquez after completing the family double.
“When I saw that I said to myself ‘you have to win too because it would be a great day for the family’.
“He has experienced hard times and it is not always easy to be ‘the brother’ as it always gives the extra pressure.
“It was important that he got another victory a year and a half after the last.”
Despite winning three of the season’s five races, Marc Marquez insisted that he was not frustrated to still have such a narrow advantage in the world championship race.
“No because there was one race where I scored zero points,” said the Spaniard in a nod to his failure to finish the Grand Prix of the Americas.
“That’s proved costly even if there have been just five races so far. It was a mistake which I didn’t expect to make.
”‘Dovi’ is doing a very good job and he is still in the top five. This is the way to fight a championship and he will be a tough opponent this year.”
Scotland’s John McPhee, on a Honda, won the Moto3 race from pole position ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta, also on a Honda, and KTM’s Aron Canet.
It was the 24-year-old’s second career victory in a class which has seen five different race winners this season so far.
Canet still leads the standings with a 12-point advantage over Dalla Porta.