MotoGP 2022
Round 7

Marquez And Nakagami Sixth And Seventh At Sunny Le Mans

fr Le Mans

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) came home in sixth place at the end of today’s French Grand Prix at Le Mans, one position ahead of fellow RC213V rider Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V).

Marquez And Nakagami Sixth And Seventh At Sunny Le Mans

Both Honda men had hoped for cooler weather this afternoon but the conditions were the hottest they’d been all weekend, reducing grip, which is currently an issue for the all-new 2022 RC213V.

As always Marquez gave it 100% from lights out to chequered flag, riding a typically determined race, this time from the fourth row of the grid, which he shared with Nakagami and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V).

The first lap was particularly frantic, with Marquez and Nakagami immediately attacking to make their way through the pack, ending the lap seventh and ninth, after starting from tenth and 12th.

Marquez did everything he could, but as the hot track took its toll on the tyres he struggled to hold his usual tight lines, despite changing his front tyre on the grid, from the softest compound to the medium, which had been tricky in the cooler conditions on Friday and Saturday, especially through the track’s few left-handers.

The hot track became too much for some riders, with seven of the 24 starters sliding off, all without injury, during the 27 laps. Despite the challenges Marquez kept everything under control and the 29-year-old Spaniard and six-times MotoGP king will take everything he learned from this race and use it to further development of the latest RC213V.

Once the race had settled down Nakagami had a mostly lonely ride in seventh place, crossing the finish line 1.5 seconds behind Marquez. This equalled his fine seventh place at the Spanish GP two weeks ago and suggested that the 30-year-old from Chiba is starting to get into his stride as the 2022 MotoGP World reaches one-third distance.

Espargaro didn’t have as strong a start to the race as his fellow RC213V riders ahead of him. The 30-year-old lost a couple of places in the melee, ending lap one in 13th, leaving him deep in the pack, with lots of work to do.

The former Moto2 World Champion did everything he could to make forward progress but spent much of the race in a group at a track where it’s particularly difficult to overtake. And he lost positions in the final stages when a rival crashed in front of him at Turn Three, forcing him to slow right down and take avoiding action.

Nakagami’s team-mate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) did well to score two World Championship points in 14th, after starting from 21st and taking a long-lap penalty.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, who took his debut MotoGP podium here two years ago, made a strong start and got into a small group of riders fighting for the final championship points.

The MotoGP paddock now gets to enjoy a weekend off before entering into a very hectic period, with the Italian and Catalan Grands Prix on May 29 and June 5, followed by the German GP and Dutch TT on June 19 and 26.

Marc Márquez
Marc Márquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
I said yesterday that with a good race our position would be fifth, sixth or seventh and we finished sixth – even if our real position was ninth because there were some falls. It was a solid race at our pace, but it was a really long race and I wasn’t able to push towards the end. All we can do is keep on working, that’s the best way to improve for the future. My target is not just to be finishing as top Honda, it’s to be finishing on the podium but we are not there yet. There’s still more to understand in the next races to close the gap to the front.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
It was a tough race, but I made an amazing start from P12 and got up to fourth, but then on the first and second laps I wasn’t strong enough and I dropped some positions. I gave my best and the second half of the race to the end was really difficult because I didn’t have a good feeling with the front end and it was hard to keep my pace. Anyway, we managed to finish P7 from P12, which is good, and I think we’ve made a step forward. We need to keep improving in the next race, but for today, P7 is a great result and I want to thank the team for their efforts. Next we have Mugello which is an amazing track where I am fast and hopefully we can have another good result.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
It was a really, really hard race. I think this weekend has confirmed where our problems are and what we need to work on. Our rhythm was not amazing, it was OK, but we weren’t able to overtake as we were losing some time under acceleration and then when I tried to overtake on the brakes the others were too far away. It’s a difficult moment but we keep on trying. Myself as the rider and Honda, we are all working a lot to resolve this situation. In the pre-season we were able to solve these problems so we know it can be improved on.

Alex Márquez
Alex Márquez 73
It was a difficult day, at least we made a really good start and did well on the first lap. But I made a mistake at Turn Eight and a rider overtook me and then after that I made a mistake in the chicane, so on that lap I lost two positions and then also had the long lap which for me was a little bit unfair. We had a good rhythm in the end, but it was too late. We need to keep making steps, but honestly, it’s quite difficult, because we keep trying things but the improvement was not there. But we’ll stay focused and keep going.

Published on