Le Mans MotoGP ‘the battle we’d been waiting to see’

Reaction to Jorge Martin vs Francesco Bagnaia vs Marc Marquez at Le Mans 2024.

Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, French MotoGP 2024
Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez, French MotoGP 2024

The three-way victory battle between Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez provides the starting point for this week’s Crash.net MotoGP podcast.

Following a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix duel between Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez, Le Mans produced an epic three-way finish with the addition of title leader Jorge Martin.

This time the Pramac Ducati rider, who had fallen from the lead in Jerez, kept his composure to claim a perfect double at Le Mans – after winning the Saturday Sprint – while Marquez overtook Bagnaia for second place on the final lap.

It was the battle we've been waiting for, wasn't it. Between the top two guys in recent years and the guy who's won more championships than anyone else on the grid,” said Crash.net MotoGP editor Pete McLaren.

“We were robbed of it a little bit at Jerez, when Martin fell. Maybe we could have seen it there. But here we are, two weeks later. And let's face it, there was nothing between the three of them really. 

"If you re-ran those last couple of laps three times, you'd probably get three different winners!

“Ultimately, it was Pecco who lost out, given that he finished third after leading a lot of the race. But then he went into those last couple of laps in the most difficult position, in second.

“So he had to attack and defend. Whereas Martin's just thinking, ‘hold on to the lead’ and defend. Marquez is just thinking attack. Pecco maybe also paid the price for not getting any data from the Sprint.

“But either way, a great battle between them and Marquez got a bit of revenge for the pass in Jerez. Let's hope we see more battles between them!”

Podcast host Jordan Moreland then asked Crash.net’s two-wheeled journalist Robert Jones if it was perhaps Martin’s best win.

“In the postrace press conference he alluded to Misano last year as still being at the top in his mind,” Jones replied. “But the performance he had all weekend was exceptional. He dominated the Sprint, even when he faced a bit of pressure from Bezzecchi, who ramped up the pace, Martin responded.

“Obviously, Bagnaia made a much better start in the Grand Prix and took the lead, but you could always tell Martin was comfortable. He was just sitting back and judging Bagnaia’s pace.

“He tried a move with 8 laps to go and we saw Bagnaia’s brilliance in defence again. But then same corner, next lap, Martin just got it done perfectly. And at that point, it almost felt like he was going to be able to pull away.

“But then Bagnaia, in what you can only say is a bit of a champion’s ride, stuck there even though he had a little bit less pace. Then Martin made a mistake with about 3 laps to go, went deep, and Bagnaia tried into Turn 5 and it looked like he’d either take the lead or create an opening for Marquez to get both of them.

“Incredible racing by all three, especially Martin to deliver that sort of weekend after Jerez and show to Ducati that it was just a small blip. As he said afterwards, ‘I was #1 this weekend’ and he did prove it.”

Read More