Jorge Martin finished second in the French Grand Prix at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans on Sunday afternoon. The Spaniard won the Sprint race on Saturday afternoon and was on the podium again on Sunday afternoon after an exciting battle with Marc Márquez.
With a win in the Sprint race and a second place in the main race on Sunday, it was almost a perfect weekend at Le Mans for Jorge Martin. The Spaniard started from fifth but dropped back to tenth on lap two after he and Luca Marini collided. He then gave chase and the Prima Pramac Racing driver quickly made up places.
As Jack Miller dropped further and further, Martin had moved up to second, trailing Marco Bezzecchi and Marc Márquez. The Italian passed him on the tenth lap after which Martin and Márquez clashed. This gave Bezzecchi the space to start and win the race, after which Martin eventually crossed the finish line in second place.
George Martin: “I already expected that this race would be different from the Sprint race. In the Sprint the start was great, this time I was in fifth place in the early stages and then had a tricky moment with Luca [Marini], we touched in Turn 8 (Garage Vert). Because I hit him with my front tire I ended up off the track myself and basically took a Long Lap penalty that dropped me back to tenth place.
I stayed relaxed and tried to ride my own pace that allowed me to slowly get back to the front group. When I got there I had a fierce fight with Marc [Márquez] and I really liked that. In Portimão we had some differences of opinion so it was good to solve our mutual problems on track. He was very fast and aggressive but we gave each other space. Finally I attacked in the corner I thought he was struggling, then he made that mistake.
I am very happy with this podium, the first of this season in a full Grand Prix race. I have been fast in the Sprint races before this year, but in the end the podium on Sunday is more special.”
The incident of Luca Marini and Alex Márquez happened right before Martin’s eyes. Coming out of the Dunlop chicane, Marini lost the front of his machine but managed to prop it up on his elbow. However, the Italian lost a lot of speed because of this, so that the trailing Alex Márquez was unable to move and he hit the Mooney VR46 Racing Team driver hard. Thanks to a good reflex, Martin was able to avoid the two drivers and eventually continue his way to the front.
George Martin: “It was quite chaotic. I overtook some riders but I just did everything I could to avoid the incident. With Luca [Marini] I was very lucky because I was behind Alex [Márquez] so I saw nothing at all. When I put the machine upright I saw everything and I was lucky that it went well. That cost me a lot of time, but I was able to make up for it quickly.”
The duel with Marc Márquez was a treat until the Spaniard crashed his Honda on the penultimate lap. After the incident in the first Grand Prix of the year in Portugal, where the Repsol Honda driver tapped Martin and then drove Miguel Oliveira off his machine, the two were anything but best friends, but that seems to have been made up for now.
George Martin: “After the race, Marc came to me in the TV compound and congratulated me on the result. He is one of the most difficult opponents to fight with, I had already watched Saturday’s race in which he and Pecco [Bagnaia] fought. It was nice to fight with him but it cost me the chance to fight with Marco [Bezzecchi] to come along. I felt my pace was a lot better but I have to improve myself in overtaking and in driving with other drivers because the tire pressure in the front tire changes. I learned a lot and hopefully I can benefit from it in the future.”
MotoGP riders and teams now have a few weeks of rest before racing resumes at the Autodromo del Mugello in Italy on the weekend of June 9-11.
Useful links SHARK Grand Prix de France:
Timetable and full results
Where to follow on TV