French Observations with Boris

Lin Jarvis was wearing a grin as wide as the wall that once separated his two riders in the Yamaha pit. He was the happiest man in France. The second happiest man in France was the boyfriend of the Federal Oil grid girl.

Yamaha celebrate their 1-2 at Le Mans MotoGP 2016
Yamaha celebrate their 1-2 at Le Mans MotoGP 2016

Moving on down that list, Lorenzo was also happy, having flogged a much diminished Le Mans MotoGP field, as was Rossi, who snared what might be 20 very crucial points by coming second.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

The Suzuki crew were likewise full of hugs and back-slapping after Maverick Vinales managed to haul his GSXRR onto the third step of the podium – the first podium for Suzuki since Brno in 2008.

Suzuki celebrate their podium at Le Mans MotoGP 2016
Suzuki celebrate their podium at Le Mans MotoGP 2016

The rest of the place was awash with tears, none saltier or more redolent with despair than those coursing through Ducati’s pit garage. Both Iannone and Dovizioso crashed, this time independently of each other, but that was hardly a consolation. It is turning out to be quite an annus horribilus for the Bologna wing-makers.

Marquez also trowelled it at the same instant that Dovi did, when they encountered the same patch of unfriendly, other-coloured bitumen on the track coming into the Musée corner, thus conceding the lead in the championship, and allowing his team-mate Dani Pedrosa a fourth place he could not otherwise have dreamt of. To his credit, he did remount and limped his badly damaged Honda home in 13th place, spraying gravel as he went, for a few points.

Marc Marquez' RC213V showing some battle damage from its trip through the kitty litter - Image by AJRN
Marc Marquez’ RC213V showing some battle damage from its trip through the kitty litter – Image by AJRN

The cheesy French kitty litter welcomed much of the field, with Miller, Smith, Crutchlow, Hernandez and Rabat also coming to rest in its gritty embrace. Scott Redding’s bike blew up so he was spared the ignominy of a ride back to the pits on a scooter while covered in dirt.

But it was always going to be Lorenzo’s day in the sun. He dominated in practice and qualifying, got a great start and just did what he always does when his chakras are all lined up and glistening.

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

All the somewhat brief racing action was taking place behind him. Rossi, starting from seventh, was swamped at the start, but rode with enough ruthless flair to haul himself into contention for second, behind Dovizioso, Iannone and Marquez. Iannone, who was also fast in the build up to the race, squeezed past his team-mate in the first third of the contest, before laying it down in his pursuit of Lorenzo.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Rossi skilfully hunted down Marquez and Dovizioso, who then crashed in perfect sync, and that was pretty much it in terms of excitement.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

From then on the race was a processional drone, but the results have thrown the championship wide open.

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

A paltry five points separate Lorenzo from Marquez, with Rossi seven points further back. Even Dani, on 53 and Maverick on 49 are within striking distance.

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

The next race at Mugello will be spectacular.

MotoGP 2016 - Round Five - Le Mans - MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 – Round Five – Le Mans – MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 coverage brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils
MotoGP 2016 coverage brought to you by Honda Genuine Oils and Chemicals
MotoGP 2016 - Round Five - Le Mans - MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 – Round Five – Le Mans – MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 – Round Five – Le Mans – World Championship Points Standings
  1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 90
  2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 85
  3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 78
  4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 53
  5. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 49
  6. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 47
  7. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 42
  8. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 39
  9. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Team MotoGP 33
  10. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 25
  11. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 23
  12. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 23
  13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 21
  14. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 20
  15. Scott Redding (GBR) Octo Pramac Yakhnich 16
  16. Michele Pirro (ITA) Octo Pramac Yakhnich 12
  17. Tito Rabat (SPA) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 11
  18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Yakhnich 9
  19. Loris Baz (FRA) Avintia Racing 8
  20. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 5
  21. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Aspar Team MotoGP 3
  22. Jack Miller (AUS) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 2