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Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Franceso Bagnaia was simply unstoppable in the Moto2™ race at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, converting pole position into a commanding victory to take his third win of 2018 - the first winner from pole in Moto2™ at the venue. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the Italian’s closest challenger in second, with teammate 2017 Moto3™ World Champion Joan Mir securing his maiden intermediate class podium, crossing the line third.
There was drama before the race began for the man who qualified second, with Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) having to start from the back of the grid a mechanical problem before the Spaniard went out.
#FrenchGP: Moto2™ Full Race
As the lights went out, Bagnaia made the perfect launch from pole and took the holeshot, with Marquez moving straight into P2. Third on the grid and World Championship contender Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) didn’t get the start he would have wanted, and when pushing to make up positions on lap seven, the Italian crashed at Turn 2 – rider ok.
Back at the front, Bagnaia and Marquez pushed to create a gap back to Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mir, with Bagnaia then able to pull away for a comfortable win. Marquez kept it calm to take second and twenty points towards the Championship, with Mir able to turn his incredible pace this weekend into his first ever podium in the class - in only his fifth race.
Schroetter would finish the race fourth, his best ever Moto2™ result after a weekend of top pace and despite still recovering from injury. Meanwhile, teammate Vierge was a man on a charge, he caught and passed Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by lap 14, and then reeled in rookie Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) to get up into fifth. The Spaniard held off a late charge from Oliveira to finish a phenomenal P5.
Rookie Fenati was a season best seventh as his adaptation to the class continued, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) giving the French fans something to cheer about in P8 – his best result of the year so far. The Frenchman was locked in a battle with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the latter stages of the race, and the South African took P9.
Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) produced a stunning ride to round out the top ten, coming from 23rd on the grid, with the key name missing from that fight at the front proving to be Championship protagonist Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), who crashed and leaves a GP with no points for the first time this year.
Joe Roberts (NTS RW Racing GP), after passing Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) for P14, crashed from a first point scoring finish, with Isaac Viñales (SAG Team), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors), Eric Granado (Forward Racing Team) and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) some of the other crashers, riders ok.
Despite Marquez' best efforts, closing the gap to less than a second with four laps to go, there was no stopping Bagnaia. He heads to the Tuscan hills leading the World Championship by a healthy 25 points. The Italian has made a blistering start to 2018, can anyone stop him on home soil next time out?
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