French GP Talking Points: "If they don’t want me, I’ll give my talent to other people"

Delve into the hot topics that surfaced during an incredible weekend in Le Mans

A three-way fight for victory, a record-breaking crowd and more – MotoGP™ weekends don’t get much better than what was served up at the 2024 Michelin® Grand Prix de France as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) extended his Championship advantage ahead of a trip to Barcelona.

Now, as the dust settles, it’s time to glance at some of the main talking points that surfaced in Le Mans.

Martin: "If they don’t want me, I’ll give my talent to other people"

That coveted spare factory Ducati Lenovo seat alongside Francesco Bagnaia in 2025 is causing a stir. After fending off the #1 in Le Mans and beating comeback King Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Martin discussed the topic in his post-race interview.

“I think I don’t have anything to demonstrate. I think, about my future, I can say that the things that happen in the next races won’t change (anything). Even if I win, even if I crash, I think I’ve already done what I needed to do and I’m really happy about my performance.

“For sure it’s important, I think maybe it’s more clear, but I don’t think it will change. I am the same rider as yesterday, the same rider as Thursday. So they have to take a decision, I think they have already chosen and whatever it is, it will be good. I really want to go to the Ducati factory team but if they don’t want me, for whatever reason that we don’t know, then I will give my talent to other people.”


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Marc Marquez: “Today we cooked the podium in a slower way”

To go from P13 to P2 in the Tissot Sprint was a special performance on Saturday afternoon from the #93. To do it again in the race, by overtaking Pecco on the final lap, was another level. In the post-race Press Conference, the Gresini star talked us through his Sunday outing in Le Mans.

“Today we cook that podium in a slower way. It’s true that yesterday was an unreal start and this gave me that second place in the Sprint race. For me yesterday the most important is that I had the pace to come back. Today I knew that the pace was there, so I slowly try to overtake the other riders.

“Then when I was on that third place, we lost some time there with Diggia, but from that point I said, third place is okay. I saw that I was catching them. The pace was there. I expect that Pecco would attack Martin in the last laps, but it was not like this. Then I decided to attack him.”

Bagnaia: “Today these two were just faster”

Despite a DNF in the Sprint and getting beaten by Martin and Marquez in the closing stages on Sunday, the back-to-back World Champion is viewing the French GP with a glass-half-full approach.  

“I was trying to do the maximum, but we can consider the weekend in a positive way considering the Friday that went perfectly, then the little issue yesterday in the Sprint that didn’t allow us to finish the race. Today these two were just faster. I tried to do the maximum but in the last five laps I struggled to have something more.

“The opposite way compared to Jerez. But in any case, we improved a bit at this track that last year I crashed and three years ago I crashed, so it was important to finish the race. We did the fastest, in a fast way. So, happy about it. But with a third position, I can never be really satisfied. But in any case, let’s move on to Barcelona and trying to improve a bit.”

Acosta: “That was the moment I was coming too fast”

Pedro Acosta’s (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) Le Mans curse struck again as the rookie star suffered his first DNF of the season. Speaking to the media post-race, Acosta explained what happened when he narrowly avoided Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). 

“Well, we made a good start to be honest. We disengaged everything in the right moment. We were quite fast. More than anything, Diggia and Aleix were having a battle in front of me in Turn 7, and maybe coming to 8 they were too on the right and they braked quite early to go to the left.

“And when they realised they were quite slow, they started to release, and that was the moment that I was coming so fast. At the end, I didn't want to hit Aleix and destroy the race of another guy, so I tried to stop the bike and then I locked the front.”

Binder: “We put ourselves in a very difficult spot”

After qualifying at the back of the grid, both the Sprint and Sunday’s race became all about salvaging as many points as possible for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). A P8 on Sunday was a great effort from the South African, as he and KTM head to Barcelona seeking a better weekend at the office. 

“Much better Sunday than Saturday. We collected some quite good experience in the sprint yesterday. We were able to make a good step forward today. Already and warm up I felt way more comfortable. The bike was turning a bit better, hooking up better. Stopping a bit better than yesterday.

 “I knew starting from last in the race today, the goal was to put together a race with zero mistakes. I didn't manage that! At least we managed to pull through a few more positions. It was nice to finish 8th in the end, specially starting last, but 6th place was right there, so I really wanted more.

 “But at the end of the day, I think we put ourselves in a very difficult spot qualifying last and we made it through the weekend. So let's try again next week.”

Quartararo: “It’s the first race this year that I feel competitive”

Fabio Quartararo’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) home Grand Prix may have ended in the gravel, but it was a fantastic weekend for the Frenchman. Gaining automatic Q2 entry, qualifying P8 and then running as high as P6 in the race was impressive, hence why, despite the crash, he leaves Le Mans happy.

“To be honest, I'm happy. I'm happy because it's the first race this year that I feel I'm competitive and I'm fighting with riders that I feel how I used to fight in the past like. Like Aleix. I saw Maverick and Marc in front of me. 10 laps to the end I think I crashed. So I feel happy.

“Unfortunately, we crashed but being in this position, in P6 without many crashes in front of me was the first time, so I give it everything and I wanted the maximum. So unfortunately we crash but we give our 100%.”

In addition, Quartararo admitted that they made a “massive” change to the bike, which enabled El Diablo to feel a small but positive difference – and find a potential new base setup.

“This morning, we made a massive change on the bike that the team expected me to say ‘ohh is completely different’ or ‘bad’ or something. They expected me to feel a big difference, but I felt a small difference in a better way. So we raced today with this bike.

“For me it looks like it's going to be our new base. And after tomorrow we will have two days of testing in Mugello. So we will have the chance to compare also in a totally different track. But today I think that I was riding really, really well and hopefully we can we can carry on.”

Bastianini: “I’m frustrated now, yes”

On paper, a P4 is a good result, especially after a Long Lap penalty following an incident with Espargaro. However, Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) leaves Le Mans disappointed after demonstrating in the latter stages of the race that he had the pace to win.

“I'm frustrated now, yes. Because for me today it was important to try to win the race, and the pace was to try to win. I don't know if it was possible, but the speed was really good. And after the overtake on Aleix, I did the Long Lap, and I tried again to close the gap. But it was impossible.

“I tried to overtake him (Espargaro). He braked very late, and he went long. I tried to go inside, but it was impossible, I lost the rear a lot in that braking and I cut the chicane. I tried also to lose some time, when I looked behind me I never saw Aleix, and I didn't see Aleix on the right side. Well, at the end I haven't lost the time to not get a Long Lap.”

That was some weekend of racing. Next up: Barcelona. What will the Catalan capital serve up for Chapter 6 of this fascinating 2024 MotoGP™ story?