Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by William Stephens
Motorcycle racing is headed to the cradle of motorsport as MotoGP heads to France for round seven of the 2022 season. The Grand Prix De France.
The 4.1 kilometre circuit may as well be covered with history instead of tarmac as the famed Le Mans Circuit will be the venue. A slightly different layout to the Circuit de la Sarthe that hosts the 24 hour race, the Bugatti Le Mans track is shorter with 11 corners. A difficult track for anyone, the circuit itself only poses half the challenge the riders are to face as the skies are expected to open come race day.
Hometown hero Fabio Quartararo heads to the south of France at the top of the leaderboard. The world champion's defence got off to a shaky start but a pair of podiums in the last two races saw him go seven points clear of Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro. Whilst the rest of the Yamaha riders have appeared to struggle, Quartararo's season so far has been a display of talismanic qualities similar to those of Marc Marquez.
It has been a dream season for Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro. The Italian manufacturer has spent a majority of seasons past on the tail end of fellow factory teams. Suffering in silence they seemed to do, but with three podiums and a race victory Aprilia is setting a foothold at the front of the grid with "team captain" Espargaro leading the charge as he's currently in title contention against the world champion. Espargaro heads to Le Mans seven points down on Quartararo but 13 clear of his next closest rivals. With showings of consistent pace so far Aprilia will be ones to watch in France.
Whilst one manufacturer aims to cement its place in the sport, another seeks to leave it. Suzuki have made official their intentions to leave the sport citing financial difficulties as the sole reason. What this means for Suzuki Ecstar going forward in 2022 we do not know. The team are currently in the lead of the team's championship and their riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir are showing decent pace, in fact Suzuki is the only team with both their riders in the top 6 of the standings. Also thrown into the mystery is the pending futures of both their riders, Alex Rins has had an uptake in form as of late and Joan Mir is a world champion in the premier class.