The Sprint Race delivered another tantalising show for the full house in Le Mans, Marc Marquez converting a magic front row to a strong fifth while Joan Mir works on finding further feeling.
Every inch of the Le Mans circuit was overflowing with passionate French fans as Saturday’s Grand Prix action began. Good weather combined with the roar of the crowd made for an incredible atmosphere as the 1000th Grand Prix weekend continued on and fans were treated to Qualifying and the Sprint.
Marc Marquez was back to his magic best in Qualifying for the French GP as he challenged for pole position immediately upon his return to competition. Having highlighted the front three rows of the grid as his target, the eight-time World Champion immediately went about surpassing that goal as he found himself well inside the top five after his first run in Qualifying. A 1’30.763 during the second half of Q2 would move Marquez into provisional pole, reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia able to go just 0.058s faster and have Marc line up second for both races.
The celebrations inside the Repsol Honda Team over the front row were short-lived as attentions immediately turned to the Sprint. From the front row, Marquez worked to stay in the leading group as the opening lap began, slotting himself just at the back of the podium fight. Battles with Binder and Bagnaia were highlights of the 13-lap race as the eight-time World Champion did his best to defend his position on track. Crossing the line in fifth place, Marquez collects solid points and most importantly gained valuable data for the HRC engineers.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Joan Mir spent his day continuing to work on finding further gains with the Honda RC213V. A 1’31.810 in Q1 saw the #36 take 16th on the grid recovering to 14th in a challenging Sprint race. There is still work to do for the double-World Championship and the Repsol Honda Team in order to improve his feeling and speed with the Honda, race laps the best way to make these steps.
The main event, the French Grand Prix, will begin at 14:00 Local Time and with even more fans expected to find their way into the circuit, it’s set to be a memorable milestone for MotoGP.