French MotoGP Race Results - Petrucci wins as Marquez claims shock podium

Danilo Petrucci claims a suprise second career MotoGP win in a thrilling French MotoGP as rookie Alex Marquez stuns with charge to second

Start of the 2020 French MotoGP

The unpredictable nature of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship showed no signs of abating in the French MotoGP as Danilo Petrucci became the sixth different winner in nine races, while Alex Marquez stunned with a superb ride to second in wet conditions.

A downpour moments before the start of the Le Mans race threw a curveball into proceedings and served to halt the momentum of pole sitter Fabio Quartararo, who went from being odd-on favourite to extend his series lead in the dry to preparing for his first-ever wet MotoGP race.

As such, it was the more experienced riders that largely rose to the fore in France as Petrucci held his nerve both in the slippery conditions and against the stiff opposition of his Ducati team-mates to complete a second career MotoGP win to go with his emotional maiden success in Mugello last year.

While any number of riders were in with a shout of victory as the race ebbed and flowed, Petrucci largely led the entire way after taking the lead on the opening lap and fronting a Ducati 1-2-3 that included Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller.

However, when Dovizioso moved past on lap 18, Petrucci fought back with a slightly physical pass into Turn 8. Simultaneously though, Alex Rins - having caught the lead three - out-braked himself at the same bend, which delayed himself, Miller and Dovizioso, and allowed Petrucci to escape up the road.

With Miller and Rins retiring shortly afterwards - the former with technical issues and the latter in a crash - Dovizioso faded with tyre issues, allowing rookie sensation Marquez, who had been charging rapidly up the order from 18th on the grid, to grab second position.

While a couple more laps might have seen Marquez challenging for a truly spectacular win, it was Petrucci taking the spoils for a richly deserved victory. It signifies a remarkable turn of fortunes for Petrucci, who hadn’t come close to the heights of that first win 18 months ago up until this weekend.

It was Marquez though that arguably stole the headlines, the rookie coming of age in the trickiest of circumstances to - remarkably - land Honda its first podium of the year.

Pol Espargaro made the most of Dovizioso’s late slump to secure KTM’s fifth podium of the year in third, with the Ducati man fourth after resisting Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira in fifth and sixth.

Takaaki Nakagami kept tallying up the top ten results in seventh - which lifts him to fifth overall despite having only finished higher than that once in a race this year  - and Stefan Bradl returned to the top ten to complete a lucrative day for Honda.

Pole man Quartararo, meanwhile, kept it steady to finish in ninth position as he played it safe in the unfamiliar conditions. Remarkably, he leaves France having extended his lead (by two points) over Joan Mir - another rider with no wet race experience - who could only manage 11th.

Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi crashed out on the opening lap, while Brits Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith fell from top ten positions having initially excelled in the conditions.

2020 French MotoGP, Le Mans - RACE RESULTS

2020 French MotoGP, Le Mans - RACE RESULTS
1Danilo PetrucciITADucati Team45m 54.736
2Alex MarquezESPRepsol Honda Team+1.273
3Pol EspargaroESPRed Bull KTM Factory+1.711
4Andrea DoviziosoITADucati Team+3.911
5Johann ZarcoFRAAvintia Ducati+4.310
6Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Tech 3+4.466
7Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda+5.921
8Stefan BradlESPRepsol Honda Team+15.597
9Fabio QuartararoFRAPetronas SRT Yamaha+16.687
10Maverick VinalesESPYamaha Factory Racing+16.895
11Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki Ecstar+16.980
12Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory+27.321
13Pecco BagnaiaITAPramac Ducati+33.351
14Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Gresini+39.176
15Iker LecuonaESPRed Bull KTM Tech 3+51.087
16Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki Ecstar+1m 14.190
DNFJack MillerAUSPramac Ducati 
DNFFranco MorbidelliITAPetronas SRT Yamaha 
DNFCal CrutchlowGBRLCR Honda 
DNFTito RabatESPAvintia Ducati 
DNFBradley SmithGBRAprilia Racing Gresini 
DNFValentino RossiITAYamaha Factory Racing