The winners and losers of the French Grand Prix
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by April Thorne
The chequered flag on Sunday's race marked the end of a drama-filled MotoGP French Grand Prix. It was a race of attrition and grit on the unforgiving asphalt and gravel traps of the Bugatti Le Mans Circuit.
Though clothed in uniqueness that you can not find in any other sport, grand prix motorcycle racing is a sport nonetheless, therefore there will always be winners and losers.
Winner: Enea Bastianini
The Beast, as he is colloquially known, put on a beauty of a performance on Sunday when he stormed his way to victory. Despite an average qualifying and a tumble in free practice, Bastianini's calm nature prevailed as he picked his way through the front runners to challenge pole man Bagnaia. The all Italian battle culminated in Pecco making an error under pressure after an onslaught from Bastianini, thus seeing the Gresini Racing rider record his third victory of the season. With that victory, Bastianini became the only rider with three wins this season; in fact he is the only repeat winner in the MotoGP class. The Italian is now only eight points behind the championship lead he ceded early in the season.
Loser: Pecco Bagnaia
It was a ride that went from dreams to nightmares for Francesco Bagnaia. The factory Ducati rider set a record breaking pole lap on Saturday and took back to back pole positions as he looked to revive his 2022 campaign. Pecco overcame an early tussle with teammate, Jack Miller, and seemed to be able to hold his own against the hard charging Bastianini. However a series of mistakes saw him lose this place to The Beast before completely crashing out of the Grand Prix. What looked to be a decent points haul and a podium in the very least resulted in a DNF.
Winner: Jack Miller
It may not have been a thrill for Thriller Miller as the Aussie picked up the pieces off his teammate crash to finish second in the Grand Prix. It was however a much needed result with growing speculation and uncertainty over Miller's future. The result lifts Miller to fifth in the standings placing him as top factory Ducati rider, a good argument for his case while his seat is in jeopardy.
Loser: Suzuki Ecstar
It was a tumultuous weekend for the Cambiago based team. It was confirmed that this would be Suzuki's last season after 38 years of racing in the premier class. It only got worse from there as both Alex Rins and Joan Mir crashed out from promising points-paying positions, betraying the early promise of consistency displayed by both riders. Though it still leaves Rins in fourth place only, the once joint championship leader is by consequence 39 points behind Fabio Quartararo. Whilst nothing is impossible in MotoGP, it would take a herculean effort from Rins to claw his way back up into proper contention.
Winner: Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia's frontman came into the weekend expressing displeasure of uncertainty surrounding his future. That displeasure was invisible as the Spaniard held back Fabio Quartararo to spoil the homecoming party to finish third in the race. More crucially it meant that Espargaro closed down on Quartararo's championship lead making the tight battle ever tighter.
A fortnight from now MotoGP will roll on to Mugello where simply put no one knows what will happen. Many on the grid will enter the Grand Prix with chips on their shoulders, scores to settle and leads to protect.