The Grand Prix de France saw the arrival of a new local hero in the shape of Johann Zarco, who took his first MotoGP podium in his home race, although the victor was some three seconds up the road from the Frenchman as Maverick Viñales sealed the win and the championship lead as both Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez crashed out.
The Spaniard now holds a 17-point advantage over Dani Pedrosa, who clinched third place at Le Mans to move up to second overall.
The hopes of the Pull&Bear Aspar Team were dashed by a crash for Álvaro Bautista on the first lap and a technical issue for teammate Karel Abraham that saw him retire after five laps.
Bautista was unable to continue past the sixth corner of the race when, whilst running in the middle of the pack, he was forced wide and lost the front end, causing him to crash. Both Pull&Bear Aspar riders will be back on track for two days of testing in Barcelona from Tuesday.
Álvaro Bautista (DNF):
“It shouldn’t be possible that for three races now we can work well all weekend and then in the race… I don’t know what’s going on. I got a normal start, I was in the group and on the way into turn six I was a little wide. It is normal to be off line on the first lap because there are so many riders together and sometimes you’re side by side. But on the way into the turn I lost the front and there was nothing I could do. We are doing a good job but we need to finish it off in the race. It is proving a difficult time for us.”
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