MotoGP Race Classification:

Joan Mir: DNF
Alex Rins: DNF

Round 5 of the MotoGP™ World Championship in Le Mans was always going to be one of the most unpredictable and dramatic races of the season with extremely unsettled weather dominating proceedings from Friday morning onwards, and for Team Suzuki Ecstar it was a weekend to forget.

The 27 lap race was declared dry before the start despite dark clouds closing in, and the entire field, including Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, opted for soft-soft slick tyres. Alex Rins got off to a flying start from his 15th place grid spot, placing himself ninth into the first corners and quickly getting up to sixth by the end of Lap 1. Fighting hard and demonstrating excellent pace, Rins had worked his way into fifth on the second lap of the race. Similarly, Joan Mir was up into eighth place after a great pass at the chicane on the third lap.

On the fourth lap of the race, just as Rins worked his way into a superb third place, the clouds broke and heavy rain began to fall around the Bugatti Circuit. In this intense and dangerous situation, coming into change bikes was the only option.
Mir was extremely unlucky as he lost grip just before he could head into pit lane and he found himself down in the gravel trap with no option of rejoining. Rins made it in for his bike swap, but just after exiting pit lane on his wet setup GSX-RR, he was down at Turn 4. Rins was able to rejoin after the team gave him a second bike with rain tyres, but on Lap 14 he fell again at Turn 3. Both riders are uninjured.

Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader and Team Director:

“Today we suffered as a result of the conditions, and we gained zero points. It’s a strange feeling to come away with two DNFs because we knew that our riders could be very competitive, despite the grid positions, in the dry and also in the wet. However, although today didn’t work out as we’d hoped, we are actually feeling very positive about the next races and for this reason we are not too disappointed. Both riders are OK after their crashes, and we know what they’re capable of in the future.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“It’s been a tough day for Suzuki because neither of our riders could score points, and it’s such a shame. Normally this track isn’t one of our best, and today’s result aside, our performance has actually improved quite a lot compared to last year and we feel much better here. So, there are some positives to take from the situation. Luckily Alex and Joan are fine and they have no injuries, which is also important. Mugello is the next stop, and with its fast corners and technical sections it’s a circuit where we feel quite confident.”

Joan Mir:

“I’m really disappointed, I didn’t expect that crash. Even though there was a lot of rain on the track, it was so unpredictable – I was with the slicks but I wasn’t pushing, I was just going to the box and it was a surprise when I lost the bike. With all the adrenaline running through me I made a mistake; I saw that the bike had shut down and the engine wasn’t running, so I started to run to the pit box without thinking. Today was my first flag to flag experience, so I will learn from everything that happened. Despite everything I felt good and I had good potential, and even in the wet warm-up I felt strong. But this is racing and sometimes it doesn’t work out. I’ll keep my head up and prepare for Mugello.”

Alex Rins:

“It was a big shame that the heavy rain came, because I was saying to my team and my staff yesterday that in the dry I could finish on the podium. I made a perfect start and put in good laps at the beginning, but then when it started to rain it was a big risk because the track was really wet. Coming out of pit lane and into Turn 4 I tried to use a little bit of front brake to help me turn but it turned out to be a mistake as I lost the front. Then I changed the bike again so that I could rejoin. This bike had wet tyres but the set-up was still for dry conditions and so it was very unsettled and reactive, very difficult to ride, then I lost the front and crashed again. Obviously I’m disappointed but there’s nothing more I can do, I was glad to have strong pace in the dry and I got into podium contention really quickly. I’ll keep working and look forward to the next races, I’m strong and the bike is strong, I’m sorry for the team that today has been another DNF but we will pick ourselves up.”

SHARK GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – MotoGP Race Classification:

1. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – 47:25.473
2. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – +03.970
3. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +14.468
4. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team – +16.172
5. D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – +21.430
6. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – +23.509
7. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – +30.164
8. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – +35.221
9. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – +40.432
10. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +40.577
11. V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +42.198
12. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Avintia – +52.408
13. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +59.377
14. E. BASTIANINI – Avintia Esponsorama – +01:02.224
15. T. RABAT – Pramac Racing – +01:09.651
16. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +01:19.719
Not Classified:
M. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 31:00.890 – 13 laps
A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 27:09.299 – 11 laps
M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 21:53.005 – 7 laps
L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 20:08.785 – 7 laps
A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 23:25.291 – 6 laps
J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 06:28.071 – 5 laps

MotoGP™ World Standings:

1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 80
2 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 79
3 Johann ZARCO Ducati 68
4 Jack MILLER Ducati 64
5 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 56
6 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 35
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 33
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 28
10 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 25
11 Brad BINDER KTM 24
12 Alex RINS Suzuki 23
13 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 20
14 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 18
15 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 17
16 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 16
17 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 16
18 Stefan BRADL Honda 11
19 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 9
20 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 9
21 Luca MARINI Ducati 9
23 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2
24 Tito RABAT Ducati 1

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