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Lorenzo Wins the Le Mans Crashfest, Vinales Makes Podium Debut

With the Le Mans pole added to Lorenzo's panoply, it was almost sure to see the 2015 MotoGP World Champion taking a picture-perfect start and disappearing into the distance. For Jorge Lorenzo, who also won the French GP, it was a race like so many others, in his characteristic style, shooting ahead from the start line and never being caught.
Lorenzo wins at Le Mans, 2016 51 photos
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Albeit lacking the spectacular thrill, Lorenzo's victory at Le Mans put him in the leading position of the championship, with 90 points and a 5-point lead over Marc Marquez. Ducati's factory duo trailed him really close, but neither Dovizioso nor Iannone was ever close enough to launch a credible attack on JL99.

Marquez opted for a hard front and was clearly not feeling too confident; however, MM93 was able to recover from a bad start and chased the Ducati duo fiercely.

Unfortunately, no less than eight riders crashed and Scott Redding once more sidelined by a dead engine. All in all, the DNF list included Smith, Miller, Dovizioso, Iannone, Rabat, Crutchlow, Hernandez, and Redding.

Undoubtedly, the most dramatic incidents were that involving Marquez and Dovizioso, who crashed simultaneously, yet independently at Turn 7. They both went down almost at the same time while riding close to each other, yet there was no contact between the bikes whatsoever. Ducati's Davide Tardozzi said that the fall might have been caused by a patch of different asphalt both bikes crossed just before losing the front and crashing.

Marquez was able to restart his heavily damaged bike and crossed the finish line in the 13th position, salvaging whatever points were there to grab, but Dovizioso was forced to retire. Ducati's nightmare was consummate, with Iannone also crashing during the race. The only good thing was to see Danilo Petrucci back on the bike after his serious hand injury, grabbing a great 7 place at Le Mans.Why Rossi is truly The "Alien"
Even though Lorenzo won at Le Mans, all eyes were on Valentino Rossi, whose race was one of the most memorable of the past decade, or even more. If anything, Rossi proved once more, if needed, that people who consider him as one of the greatest riders in history have all the reasons to do so.

Starting off from a rather disappointing 7th position, on the third row of the grid, Rossi wasn't able to make an explosive start to get him closer to the leading pack, and was forced to fight his way to the front. It is exactly this type of on-track battle that makes MotoGP an amazing sport, and the crowds cheered like mad with each of Rossi's overtakes.

Running in fourth, Rossi produced two outstanding moments, slipping past MM93 first, on the inside, with surgical precision, leaving no chance for the Spaniard to even try and retake his lost third position. Shortly after, Rossi outbraked Dovizioso and moved up into second place. Lorenzo was too far ahead, so the Doctor clawed another podium.

With Dovizioso and Marquez out, Vinales, who had previously gotten the better of his teammate Aleix Espargaro, realized that he was riding for a podium position once more this season. So he took all the necessary precautions to stay on two wheels and finish the race, making his podium debut. Vinales thus brings Suzuki back on the MotoGP podium, with the last such feat occurring back in 2008 at the Czech GP, thanks to Loris Capirossi.

Pedrosa, who also started further back on the grid in the 11th position, rode to a 4th finish, followed by the Espargaro brothers, Pol and Aleix, with Petrucci 7th, and Barbera, Bautista and Bradl for the top 10. Laverty was also in the point-scoring zone, with the 11th-best time.

Five rounds into the 2016 season, Lorenzo leads the championship with 90 points, followed by Marquez (85), Rossi (78), Pedrosa (53), and Maverick Vinales (49).

Next on the MotoGP calendar is the Mugello round, on May 22, at the circuit where Rossi is considered a god, and where Ducati feels at home, as they test there more than anyone else. Also, with the legendary 1,141-meter-long (3743.4 ft), 350+ km/h (218 mph) straight, we know there's going to be a lot of excitement in Tuscany later this month. Still not sure whether Marc Marquez' fan club will attend the race, though...

 
 
 
 
 

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