It’s easy to see why he’s saying that as well because since returning to Europe, although Marquez has collected some decent points with two sixth place finishes and a fourth in Jerez, he’s failed to finish within ten seconds of the eventual race winner. 16 seconds in Portimao, 12 seconds in Jerez and 15 seconds in Le Mans do not make pretty reading for a factory that had high hopes of reclaiming their former glory in 2022.
But, even he’s at a loss to explain what’s going on: “I don’t know really what to say. It’s crazy what’s happening. I have no explanation. I’m extremely happy with the level that I’ve reached, how I’m riding, the stability, how I feel with this team, with this group of people. They have given me the bike that I’ve dreamed about, the bike that I asked for. All of the changes that I wanted in pre-season last year, I have this year. I just hope to keep the momentum going and keep enjoying it.
It was an amazing emotional long shot. The difference between success and failure summed up in such a cruel and stark way. While his nearest rivals were fighting for glory just metres away on Le Mans tarmac, a lone figure walked towards pit lane, head bowed and helmet still on. For a moment there was not another person in sight, and only the roar of four-stroke engines and partisan French voices made you realise you were at a racetrack. The red-leathered figure looked so small and forlorn in the long shot. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) did not need reminding, did not need an arm around his shoulder to tell him that not only had he crashed out while fighting with Bastianini but had severely dented any chance he had of World Championship glory. It was such a poignant moment.
The return of fans to the world famous circuit in Le Mans made for a spectacular weekend, with a party atmosphere gripping the track throughout the weekend. Over the four days, close to a quarter of a million people visited, with more than 110,000 spectators taking in the Sunday show as Enea Bastiaini unleashed the Beast to take the win at the SHARK Grand Prix de France.
A lead group of eight quickly formed as Moor and the fast-starting Noa Cuypers (Junior Black Knights) jostled for P1 on a number of occasions, before Veneman then climbed into the top three. The excellent battle for the lead continued throughout the race until Moor and Veneman were able to break away with two laps to go. Cuypers, after a couple of mistakes, had lost ground and so had the likes of Kevin Farkas (Agria Racing Team), Martin Vincze (Chrobak Motorsport Egyesület), Masili, Tibor Varga (Forty Racing) and Luca Göttlicher (JRP Junior Academy), with front row starter Dustin Schneider (Goblin Racing) forced to take a Long Lap penalty after taking a shortcut at Turn 4.
The manic start to proceedings continues back at the front. Bagania and Rins had both picked off Bastianini to drop him out of the podium places, though for the GSX-RR, his race ambitions would come crashing to a halt at the beginning of the third lap. In a scary moment, Rins went off track at Turn 2 and travelled at speed through the gravel before coming back on track at Turn 4, but unfortunately, he couldn’t keep his machine upright as it returned to the tarmac. He temporarily rejoined but retired soon after.
The Swiss rider takes over the lead in the MotoE™ World Cup standings in style
Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) has moved into the lead of the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup after a thrilling victory in Race 2 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France. The fight for line honours went all the way down to the eighth and final lap at Le Mans, when Aegerter passed Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) for the lead. Joining them on the podium in a career-first was Niccolo Canepa (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™ Team), after he beat Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) to the line by 0.008 seconds.
Aegerter takes up the challenge to Casadei – and wins
Casadei had taken the spoils in Race 1 on the afternoon prior at Le Mans and, from pole position, he took up the early lead in Race 2. Aegerter slotted into fourth spot when he lost two positions off the start, bot got both of them back with passes of Hikaro Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE™) and then Zannoni at Turn 3 on Laps 2 and 3 respectively. It meant he was released to go after Casadei, and could start chipping away at the Italian’s one-second margin.
After about half a dozen laps, Aegerter had caught up. Then, as they started the final tour, he went for the pass at his preferred spot, executing a brilliant overtake into Turn 3 to snatch the lead. Casadei tried to respond but ultimately took the chequered flag 0.567 seconds in arrears.
The battle for third goes down to the wire
While the contest for victory was only settled late in the race, the final podium position was not even locked in until right at the finish line. In the early stages, it was pre-race World Cup leader Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) who was on a charge, dropping as low as eighth on Lap 1 but getting into the top five when he passed Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™) at the start of Lap 4. On Lap 5, he used a cutback to overtake Okubo for fourth spot as they accelerated off Garage Vert (Turn 8), but then the Brazilian found himself under threat.
Canepa took advantage of Okubo’s attempt to immediately hit back with a pass of the Japanese rider at Chemin aux Boeufs (Turn 9) and that set up a vigorous duel with Granado, who had to be careful due to a track limits warning. Nevertheless, they continued to chop and change positions until Canepa made a decisive move on Lap 7, but that was bad news for Zannoni. The SIC58 rider could not hold out his fellow Italian, losing a drag to the finish line by eight thousandths of a second.
Granado, Okubo, and Ferrari crossed the line just behind in fifth through seventh, with Hector Garzo (Tech3 E-Racing) eighth. Xavi Fores (Octo Pramac MotoE™) and Xavi Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) were ninth at the 10th chequered flag but copped three-second penalties for a shortcut and failure to comply with a long lap penalty respectively. That meant the official top 10 was rounded out by Marc Alcoba (Openbank Aspar Team) and Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team).
Jordi Torres did not start the race after sustaining a broken left fibula when he crashed and was struck by two other riders on the opening lap of Race 1, but was in good spirits as he stayed at Le Mans to cheer on Pons Racing 40 team-mate Casadei.
Change at the top of the World Cup standings
Granado might have won both races when the season began in Jerez, but Aegerter’s first MotoE™ win since 2020 has helped him go to top of the World Cup standings with an eight-point margin over the Brazilian. Casadei, who matched Aegerter’s 45 points for the Le Mans weekend, is nine points further behind in third.
The FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup is back again in just a fortnight from now, when the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley is held at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
MotoE™ Race 2 Top 5:
1. Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE)
2. Mattia Casadei (Pons Racing 40) + 0.567
3. Niccolo Canepa (Withu GRT RNF MotoE Team) + 1.688
4. Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) + 1.696
5. Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) + 1.831
This Sunday, May 15, fans will be able to enjoy the fourth MotoE™ race of 2022, which will take place right after the MotoGP™ race, at 15:30 (CET). For this reason, the live coverage will focus on all the action of the electric competition, ahead of the press conference and After The Flag.
It was victory for one KTM Ajo rider after the other crashed out of the race lead at Le Mans
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez has broken a drought of almost three years by taking the Moto2™ race win at the SHARK Grand Prix de France. While it was joy for the 24-year-old at Le Mans, it was a different story for his rookie team-mate Pedro Acosta, who crashed out of the race lead on Lap 11. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) finished a distant second, and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) made the podium after re-passing Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) late in the piece. World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) limited the damage to his title hopes by finishing eighth from 18th on the grid in the 25-lap encounter.
The KTM Ajo duo pulls clear
Acosta converted his first Moto2™ pole position into the early race lead while Fernandez slotted into second, one up on where he had qualified. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) was third initially before being passed by Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up) on Lap 2, then Canet was into the podium places when he got by Lopez on Lap 5 at Turn 3.
By then, the top two had a margin over the rest of three seconds and growing. Still, Fernandez was keeping in touch with Acosta, thanks in part to a big wobble for the latter exiting Raccordement (Turn 14) on Lap 5. A lap later, Lopez and Arenas were down in the gravel together when they made contact as the Aspar rider tried to go through a diminishing gap at Le Musee (Turn 7).
Acosta throws away the lead
The pole-sitter had just started to put the hammer down when he lost the front through La Chapelle (Turn 6) on Lap 11 and crashed into the gravel, his hopes of a breakthrough Moto2™ victory dashed. Acosta’s spill elevated Fernandez to the lead and a distant Canet to second position, but the man with the bowtie was coming under pressure from Beaubier and Chantra.
When Beaubier ran just a little wide at Le Musee on Lap 14, Chantra pinched third position, then put a forceful move on Canet a lap later at Garage Vert (Turn 8). In doing so, he made room for the American in that battle pack to also go past Canet and reclaim third position. However, the Spaniard turned the tables on Lap 18, passing Beaubier from a long way back at the Turn 3/Turn 4 chicane.
A crucial moment in the battle for the minor placings
As Fernandez continued to enjoy a margin of six to seven seconds over the rest, second-placed Chantra outbraked himself at Garage Vert on Lap 18 and had to let his bike run wide. Not only did he cede position to Canet and Beaubier, the Thai rider had cost himself a full second of time, handing a big free kick to his rivals in the battle for the minor placings.
Still, he was hardly down and out. Beaubier invited pressure when he ran wide at La Chapelle on the third-last lap of the race, and Chantra made the pass on the second-last lap as they ran through Turn 13. Meanwhile, Vietti was finally into the top 10, despite running through the gravel at Garage Vert earlier in the race.
Fernandez cruises to victory
Fernandez eased off in the closing laps and cruised to victory by an official margin of 3.746 seconds. The win is his first since the 2019 San Marino Moto2™ Grand Prix, and his first altogether for Red Bull KTM Ajo. A further 0.882 seconds behind Canet was Chantra in third, with Beaubier a career-best fourth.
Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) prevailed in a late battle with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) as they finished fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Vietti, Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), and Stefano Manzi (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team).
Arenas managed to remount after his incident with Lopez but could only get back to 19th, missing out on the points. His Inde GASGAS Aspar team-mate Jake Dixon, who did not get away well from the middle of the front row, also pressed on after an early crash from eighth position, but finished even further back in 21st spot. Among those who did not make the chequered flag at all were Lopez and title contender Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team).
Arbolino and Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) went down in synchronised fashion at La Chapelle on Lap 2, although without contact, and that capped off a horror day for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team. Before the race had started, it was down to one bike due to the withdrawal of Sam Lowes. The Briton had qualified fourth-fastest and rode in the Warm Up but was later declared unfit after reporting neck pain and the onset of dizziness, following a nasty highside in Q2.
In the World Championship, Vietti has moved to 108 points, second-placed Ogura is slightly closer at 16 points behind, and Fernandez has climbed to fifth.
That’s it for another intriguing weekend of Moto2™. Join us next time when Round 8, the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, unfolds at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello on 27 May – 29 May.
Moto2™ Race Top 10:
1. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 3.746
3. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 4.628
4. Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) + 4.745
5. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 15.376
6. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 17.547
7. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing) + 19.035
8. Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 19.854
9. Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) + 20.766
10. Stefan Manzi (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp) + 20.879