Motorcycling: Petrucci braves wet conditions to win French Grand Prix

MotoGP - French Grand Prix
MotoGP - French Grand Prix - Circuit Bugatti, Le Mans, France - October 11, 2020 Mission Winnow Ducati Corse's Danilo Petrucci celebrates winning the race with the trophy on the podium REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

October 11, 2020

(Reuters) – Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci held his nerve in wet conditions to win the French Grand Prix in Le Mans on Sunday, while Repsol Honda rookie Alex Marquez clinched his first MotoGP podium.

The race was delayed by a heavy downpour just moments before the start time at Bugatti Circuit and changed the fortunes of Championship contenders Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir — who had never started a wet race before.

Pole-sitter Quartararo struggled on his Petronas Yamaha from the start, allowing Petrucci, who started third, to take the early lead as he went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

Petrucci’s win comes as a huge surprise after having failed to record a top-six finish in any of the previous eight races this season.

In the absence of the injured world champion Marc Marquez, younger brother and team mate Alex produced a string of blistering laps in his first wet race to finish second.

KTM’s Pol Espargaro made late charge to claim the final podium position ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Quartararo finished a disappointing ninth in his home race but stays at the top spot in the Championship standings, while Suzuki’s Joan Mir ended in 11th.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)