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Baguettes & Bikes at the Bugatti Circuit: MotoGP French GP Review

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After a majestic run at Jerez last month, all eleven teams arrived at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe for the French Grand Prix. More specifically, they raced at the Bugatti circuit. So let’s look at all that happened over the weekend as the 1000cc monsters arrived on the French tarmac.

MotoGP™, Podium SPR, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

As the MotoGP paddock arrived at the French Grand Prix to race for the 23rd time in this century, there was hope in the air. Jorge Martin wanted to claw back some points after his DNF at the last race. Francesco Bagnaia eyed on keeping his winning streak on as Marc Marquez hoped to set his #93 Ducati on the top steps of the podium. All the heavy hitters looked forward to their weekend in France.

The weekend lasted from the 9th of May to the 12th of May and presented itself as a sprint weekend. It comprised 2 Free Practice sessions on Friday, 2 Qualifying sessions & a sprint race on Saturday with the main race on Sunday.

Qualifying


It was a competitive Q1 session with Enea Bastianini storming to the top spot to secure a spot in Q2. ‘The Beast’ set a brilliant 1:30.233 with his Ducati. However, all eyes quickly turned to the start of Q2 with Jorge Martin putting the hammer down instantly, setting an all-time lap record on the opening flying lap. Martin quickly improved setting the first ever 1:29.919 lap around Le Mans – 0.192s quicker than Bagnaia.

However, some key contenders are missing from the front three rows,  most notably Marc Marquez, who will start from 13th on the grid on Saturday and Sunday with a huge task ahead. Marc Marquez had a huge save in Q1 after losing the front and running off the track.

The final qualifying grid stood with Jorge Martin on pole with his championship rival Francesco Bagnaia in a close second and Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales occupying P3.

MotoGP™, Parc Ferme, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

Sprint


It was redemption day for Jorge Martin as the Spaniard took victory on French soil. It was his 12th Sprint win after starting from Pole Position. The #93 of Marc Marquez followed by in P2 after a stunning recovery after starting in P13 and the podium was completed by Maverick Viñales in P3.

MotoGP™, Podium SPR, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

Reigning world champion and Jorge Martin’s championship rival Bagnaia fell down the order and then fell out of contention as he seemed to be suffering some issue with his Ducati.

Espargaro recovered from his double Long Lap to finish fifth, with Acosta taking a solid sixth and putting in a final corner save. Di Giannantonio held off Miller for seventh, with Raul Fernandez taking the final point on Saturday… just marginally ahead of home hero Fabio Quartararo.

Race


The lights went out at the Bugatti Circuit and Pecco Bagnaia shot off into the lead with Martin close behind and Aleix Espargaro in third place. Francesco Morbidelli seemed to be the biggest loser at the start as he dropped 8 places while Marc Marquez gained 5 places and showed why he was still a force to be reckoned with.

Two laps into the race, the yellow flag was brought out as Pedro Acosta found himself in the gravel. The yellow flag was brought out again a lap later as Marco Bezzecchi crashed out. The winner of last year’s Grand Prix was left dejected in the gravel as his race came to an unnerving end.

Lap 6 saw some action in between the #12 Aprilia of Maverick Viñales and the #93 Ducati of Marc Marquez, who scrapped for 5th position. Marquez seemed to be gaining positions as the turns went by, starting from P13 and moving all the way to P6 in the span of 6 laps.

Takaaki Nakagami, Luca Marini, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

Fabio Quartararo fell out of contention as well by DNFing on Lap 17. Fabio Di Giannantonio was hit with a penalty as he cut the corner during his skirmish with his fellow riders.

Lap 19 saw action between the titans up ahead of the field. Jorge Martin efficiently placed his bike right up on Francesco Bagnaia’s rear and sought to attack the Italian. As the Spaniard moved closer, Pecco used his genius to sway away Martin and maintain his lead in the race.

On Lap 21, Pecco went to wide into a corner which gave Jorge a chance to take the lead. This mistake costed the Italian twice as much as there was a fiery Marquez closing in. Marquez had cleared off Viñales, Espargaro and Di Giannantonio to move up to P3.

By Lap 25, the top three riders were too close to comfort. One small error could cost one’s race, maybe even the entire trio’s race.

MotoGP™, Race, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

Lap 27 had Marc Marquez in a trance as the Gresini rider overtook the Ducati rider in spectacular fashion to take P2 leaving Bagnaia in the dust.

The French Grand Prix came to a close with Jorge Martin taking the chequered flag with an ecstatic Marc Marquez taking P2 and a somewhat dejected Francesco Bagnaia settling for P3.

MotoGP™, Podium, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

It was a Spanish 1-2 and Jorge Martin was proud to wave his country’s flag on his cooldown lap by wearing it as a cape. Home hero Fabio Quartararo went up to the grandstands and gave away his racing boots to his home folk as a gesture of gratitude.

The Podium celebrations took a funny turn as the Michelin Man mascot took part in the spraying of the champagne as well. Gresini Racing were proud to see their boy Marc on the podium as it was their 1000th Grand Prix start in MotoGP.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing MotoGP™, Michelin® Grand Prix de France

All in all, the French Grand Prix provided some brilliant action for us fans. It provided hopeful highs and destressing lows for the riders.

Race Classification


Championship Standings


Here’s how the Championship stands after the French Grand Prix:

Next up is the Catalan Grand Prix held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from the 23rd of May to the 26th of May.

MotoGP

The title fight flips on it’s head in Germany: DRC’s MotoGP German Grand Prix Review

Championship drama, epic comebacks and broken records headlined an absolute stunner in Sachsenring.

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The 2024 MotoGP World Championship added another exiting chapter in it’s thrilling story. Join us as DRC reviews a modern era masterpiece that took place in Sachsenring. This is the 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix review.


Bagnaia stands tall after Martin’s Crash and Burn

Over the weekend, Francesco Bagnaia looked a shadow to Jorge Martin, the Martinator topping practice and then eventually securing pole. In contrast, Pecco qualified fourth behind the Trackhouse Aprilias of Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez.

The hopes for a win looked slim as Martin pulled a breathtaking recovery to win the sprint, even after losing positions at the start. To put salt on the wounds, Pecco was unable to pass the Trackhouse Aprilia of Miguel Oliveira and finished third.

That did not stop Bagnaia however, as he snatched the lead of the German Grand Prix from Martin at the start. But soon enough, in an attempt to manage his tires, he fell back down to fourth. After the first fifteen laps though, Pecco pulled the trigger.

Lapping in the 1:20s Pecco picked off those ahead, eventually being just 0.8 seconds behind Martin in the race lead with 3 laps to go. It was looking like Martin would win, but the pressure of keeping Bagnaia behind got to him. With just two laps to go, Jorge Martin crashed out at turn 1, gifting Pecco the lead of the race and the championship.

With this win, Bagnaia surpassed Casey Stoner as the rider with most wins atop a Ducati desmosedici. His 24th win with Ducati also comes with his 200th start, and is Ducati’s 95th win overall.


Marquez brothers finish on the Podium as Marc climbs to second.

Marc Marquez, dubbed the “King of the Ring” was in poor shape on friday. After a heavy crash on friday, he suffered a broken index finger on his left hand, and a bruised ribcage. His situation worsened when he was impeded by Stefan Bradl on his flying lap in Q1, meaning he qualified P13 for the sprint. He eventually finish 6th only 0.003 seconds ahead of Maverick Vineales in a photo finish.

It was looking like Alex Marquez was going to be the lead Gresini and the lead Marquez overall. Alex qualified fifth and had strong pace in practice. He fell down to ninth in the sprint, but was still optimistic about Sunday.

As the lights went out, Marc Marquez picked up 8 places in the first seven laps to slot in 5th behind his brother, who passed Franky Morbidelli three laps after. Marc then caught up with Morbidelli and nearly passed him into turn 1, but the two collided, popping off Marquez’s airbag.

That incident forced Marc Marquez to pull the trigger, overtaking Morbidelli for fourth place which became third after Martin’s crash. He then passed Alex in the final lap to secure a 2-3 for Gresini Racing, and two brothers shared a podium in MotoGP for the first time since 1997.

Alex Marquez had a great weekend too, his pace in the sprint the only roadblock he faced to a P3 finish. His brother’s comeback may have overshadowed his performance, but his racing showed why Gresini trusted him for another two years.


Aprilia start off strong but suffer due to lack of Race Pace

Aprilia faced a challenge even before the weekend started. Aleix Espargaro withdrew to aid his recovery after a scary crash in the Sprint race at Assen. With test rider Lorenzo Savadori unavailable to stand in, Aprilia was forced to run only one rider in Maverick Vineales who qualified 7th. Things were better for the customer Trackhouse team though, with their riders qualifying 2nd and 3rd and Miguel Oliveira finishing second in the sprint come Saturday.

That was as good the things were going to get though. Maverick lost 6th place to Marc Marquez by 0.003 seconds, and Raul Fernandes slipped down to 14th in the sprint. Come sunday, all three Aprilias suffered from the lack of race pace against the Ducatis and even the KTMs. Miguel’s impressive sprint podium went to wain as Oliveira was the lead Aprilia in 6th, followed by Fernandes in 10th and Vineales in 12th as the chequred flag fell.


Morbidelli experiences a Renaissance but looses out due to poor tyre management.

Franky Morbidelli was having a decent weekend. The Prima Pramac rider qualifying sixth and gaining a place in the sprint. He even challenged Pecco and passed him in the opening stages of the main race. He briefly was on the tail-end of a Prima Pramac 1-2 as Martin hammered on.

But poor tyre management came back to haunt him, as he lost places left and right, to Bagnaia and then to the Marquez brothers later on. A better tyre management plan would have ensured atleast a top 4 finish for him, instead he limped home in fifth, getting passed by Bastianini on the final lap to add to the pain. As promising this weekend was for Franky, he will surely feel motivated to go for it in the races after the summer break.


Title Standings

The championship has a new leader as the German GP shakes up the order.

The 2024 MotoGP Standings after the German Grand Prix in Sachsenring.
The new MotoGP world Championship standings. Credit: MotoGP

With the German GP done and dusted, MotoGP heads to Silverstone next after a three week long summer break. The British Motorcycle Grand Prix weekend takes place August 2-4 at the famous Silverstone Circuit, which just hosted an amazing Formula One Grand Prix.

Make sure to follow DRC to keep up with the fast world of Motorsports.

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The Title battle intensifies as MotoGP heads to Germany

MotoGP now heads to Sachsenring in Germany, a place famous for close and unpredictable racing.

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The MotoGP caravan now pitches it’s tents in the Sachsenring for the 2024 German Motorcycle Grand Prix. With drama in Assen winding down long after the chequered flag had been flown, Germany is set to be highly entertaining. DRC now previews the upcoming weekend, what to expect, possible contenders and much more.

About the Sachsenring

The Sachsenring race track located about 8 kilometers west of the town of Chemnitz, in the Saxony province of Germany. Numerous tight corners make it one of the slower tracks on the calendar, however the second part of the lap is all but slow.

The Sachsenring Track Layout as seen on MotoGP website.
The Current Track Layout. Credits: MotoGP

A long start-finish straight provides opportunities to overtake into the first corner. The lap continues into a complex of challenging corners called “the Castrol Omega”. Out of turn 6 is a series of long winding lefts into turn 10, which leads to the long straight to 12. Turn 12 then leads to 13 through a short straight which feeds back into the start-finish line.

The track is one of the slower ones of MotoGP, with the first two sectors crucial for any good lap. The exit out of turn 6 is very important, because you carry the speed all the way to turn 10 and down the straights.


Bagnaia cuts down on Martin’s lead

Flawless was the word for Francesco Bagnaia, the world champion winning lights to flag in both the races in Assen. Furthermore, he has now chipped away Martin’s lead to just 10 points in his third championship charge. With Pecco having two impeccable weekends back to back, Martin undoubtedly needs to have a good weekend here.

Pecco's Impeccable weekend via MotoGP.
Perfect does not begin to describe Pecco’s weekend in Assen. Credits: MotoGP

With this win, Bagnaia winning in Assen, he has tied with Australian legend Casey Stoner for the most wins atop a Ducati Desmosedici with 23 wins each.


Pecco and Martin to fight it out as The King of the Ring looks to reclaim his throne

Talking about potential winners, the probability of another Bagnaia win is very high. However it will not be surprising to see Jorge Martin on the top step of the podium as well considering Martin and Bagnaia finished 1-2 here last year. But come the Sachsenring, another potential winner is added to the list.

Marc Marquez takes particular liking to Sachsenring, with 11 wins in Sachsenring over his career. He has only missed two wins here, in 2022 and 2023, when he was riding a struggling Repsol Honda.

The Spaniard has always liked anti-clock wise circuits and consequently his domination in places such as the CotA, Aragon and Valencia stand testament to his skill on such configurations.

Marquez's last win in Sachsenring via MotoGP
Marquez’s eleventh triumph of the ring came just after his return from injury in 2021. Credits: Autosport.com

Now riding the Ducati GP23, he looks to re-establish himself as the true King of the Ring. A first win as a Ducati rider will be the perfect rebound especially after the horrid weekend in Assen, a post race penalty dropping him down to P10 . A good weekend here will help solidify his chances for the title fight while also keep him motivated for the summer break which will follow. Marc Marquez cannot be ignored as a potential winner here.


From the rumor mill: Lewis Hamilton to buy Gresini

Yep, you heard it right here folks. Lewis Hamilton is planning to buy Gresini racing from it’s owner Nadia Padovani, right after Liberty Media acquired MotoGP.

This also comes right after Prima Pramac racing announced that they will go with Yamaha 2025 onwards. In any case, a tactful partnership with Hamilton will bring influence, money and the chance to get factory support from Ducati. Gresini aim to have a strong weekend here in a bid to impress a potential buyer, a very influential one at that.


Temporary Rides and the Rider’s Market

Former Moto2 champion Remy Gardner will stand in for the injured Alex Rins at the German Grand Prix for Yamaha. Rins suffered a massive highside going into the first corner in Assen, which was serious enough to require surgery. Gardner will look to impress Yamaha officials to secure an open ride in either Pramac or the factory team.

Meanwhile neither Aprilia nor Aleix Espargaro have issued any statements regarding his participation. Aleix suffered a massive crash on the final lap of the Sprint and took sunday off to aid his recovery. Should he be unable to compete, there is a real chance Aprilia may have to make do with a single rider as their test rider Lorenzo Savadori suffered a small vertebrae fractures in a crash in Assen.

In terms of Rider moves, a lot has occurred. Aprilia announced the arrival of Jorge Martin after Mugello and then they announced Marco Bezzecchi as his partner. Tech 3 KTM announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini and Maverick Vineales as they welcome in factory support for 2025.


Championship Standings

The championship looks like this heading into the weekend:

Image credits: MotoGP

Weekend Schedule

All sessions are available to watch at Eurosport India and Jio Cinema in India. The detailed schedule and timings in IST can be found below.

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TT Assen – Bagnaia’s masterclass in the Netherlands

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credits - Moto GP

Moto GP returns to TT Assen and Francesco Bagnaia shows us how its done. Here’s the DRC’s report for the Moto GP weekened.

The No. 1 still undefeated

Throughout the weekened, it was an absolute domination by the no. 1 bike of Francesco Bagnaia. His weekend started by topping the first free practice session by 0.065 seconds over Marc Marquez. He went further and topped every available session for the weekend. Everything from the practice session to the 2nd free practice, sprint and even the race, all went under the belt of the Italian.

With another TT Assen victory, Pecco has managed to win at this venue three years in a row. In an ongoing close contested championship, Bagnaia closed the gap to chart leader Jorge Martin to just 10 points.

Francesco Bagnaia; credits-Moto GP

Elsewhere, Jorge Martin started the weekend with qualifying directly for the Q2 from the friday practice. Come Q2 on Saturday, Martin was trading the lap record with Pecco. It was Pecco who broke the lap record first but Jorge fought back and posted a time of 1:30:877.

Pecco, however, wasn’t done yet. In the closing moments of Q2, he put up a time of 1:30:540 to have the lap record back under his name. Martin eventually qualified in P2 for the race and the sprint.

The next session, sprint, was relatively uneventful for Martin, as he finished where he started, 2nd.

Trouble came for him after the sprint, as he got awarded a 3 place grid penalty for sunday’s race for obstructing Raul Fernandes in Q2 on saturday.

This meant that Sunday’s race became a case of damage limitation for the spaniard. He, however, shot into P3 owing to a strong start and later passed Maveric Vinales on same lap. From then on, it was really cruise control for Martin as he couldn’t answer Bagnaia strong pace. He eventually crossed the line in P2, his highest result at this venue.

A weekend to forget for Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez would’ve went into this weekend hoping for a better result. With a crash and DNF in sprint and a penalty dropping him to P10 in race, it was a subpar weekend for Marquez.

Marc Marquez(R) and Fabio Di Gianntonio (L) ;credits-Moto GP

Fresh off the Ducati signing, Marquez started the weekend strong with a P2 by 0.065 seconds from the Ducati of Bagnaia in FP1. He ended up in P6 in the practice session, gaining a direct entry into Q2 for Saturday.

However, come Q2, Marquez crashed in the closing stages, and ended up only with a 7th place starting position for sprint and the race.

Come the Sprint on Saturday, it was disaster again for #93. He slid in the opening portion of the sprint on turn 2.

With only Sunday’s race left for Marquez to grab whatever points he can, he started the race strong and passed Vinales for P3. He would stay there for some laps before an incoming attack and pass from Fabio Di Giannantonio meant that Marquez slotted into P4. Some laps later the top 3 had changed as Vinales had passed both Marquez and Enea Bastianini to slot into 3rd.

Seeing this, #23 too tried his chances on Marquez and sent it down the inside.

Bastianini went ahead and came in P3 come the race end. Marquez later capitalized on a mistake of Vinales and crossed the line in P4.

However, all his work came undone as he got given a 16 second tyre pressure penalty post race.

This Penalty dropped Marquez all the way down to P10 and his points down to just 6 from the entire weekend.

Marquez now sits at 142 points in the championship, 58 points behind the table topper Jorge Martin. With the championship heating up, he will be looking forward to the German GP to come back in the title fight.

Aprilia on the up, but Espargaro down

Aprilia had an overall lukewarm weekend at the TT Assen. With Maverick Vinales finishing the sprint in P3 and the race in P5, it was strong showing from his side of the garage.

He was in P2 in friday’s practice and FP2 on saturday, less than a tenth away from P1 at both occasions. Come the end of qualifying, he was p3 by just 4 tenths. At the sprint start, Vinales lost P3 to Alex Marquez but managed to move back past him come the end of lap 2.

Maverick Vinales; credits-Moto GP

On the other side of the garage, it was not a happy place. Aleix Espargaro had to withdraw from the warm up and the race on sunday . He had crashed in the sprint on Saturday. Their test rider, Lorenzo Savadori also suffered small vertebrae lumbar fractures in sprint. He was declared unfit for the race on sunday.

Aleix Espargaro after crashing in the sprint.

New engine for Yamaha debuts at TT Assen

At the Dutch GP, we got to see what Yamaha had been working on behind the scenes.

At the start of the year, Yamaha brought about a new engine. It gave it’s riders more power to use, but also took away the bike nimbleness. This upgrade at Dutch GP was meant to solve exactly that.

Fabio Quatararo; credits- Moto GP

At the end of the friday practice, Quartararo had mixed reaction to his bike. He exclaimed that the bike is now better in slow corners but the fast corners remain the same.

This new engine comes in at a time when Prima PRAMAC Racing has announced to Yamaha machinery from 2025.

Fabio Quartararo had an overall good weekend. He finished in the points in P7 in the sprint from a P13 start. In the race however, he could only manage a P12 finish.

Alex Rins on the other hand, had a disasterous end to his weekend. He had a major highside on lap 1 turn 1 in the race and was taken into the medical centre.

Rins has had severe bruises in his right hand and fractures in his right foot. He has been taken to Madrid for further examination. His participation in German GP is yet to be confirmed.

Championship Standings

After the Dutch GP, here is how the championship looks like:

The next Moto GP race weekend takes place in Sachsenring from 5 July to 7 July.

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