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Danilo Petrucci Wins Rainy French GP, Becomes Seventh 2020 MotoGP Winner

Illustration for article titled Danilo Petrucci Wins Rainy French GP, Becomes Seventh 2020 MotoGP Winner
Photo: Jean-Francois Monier / AFP (Getty Images)

A pre-race downpour soaked the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit just minuted before the MotoGP grid lined up to take the green flag—the first wet race since Valencia in 2018. And, as you’d expect, the wet track made for some chaos and unexpected results—resulting in Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci’s win. He’s the seventh different winner in nine Grands Prix in the 2020 season.

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Cal Crutchlow shot to the lead at the start of the race, but Jack Miller found himself in the lead by turn three. Valentino Rossi had a crash at that same corner, ending his race. Petrucci, Andrea Dovisioso, and Miller took the top positions, making it a Ducati 1-2-3 to kick off the race.

But nothing has been guaranteed this year in MotoGP. With eight laps to go, Miller’s Ducati began to smoke, Alex Rins went down at turn three, and Crutchlow crashed. Petrucci’s lead was untouchable, and in the midst of chaos, rookie Alex Marquez, who had started 18th, suddenly found himself in a podium position and challenging for a win.

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And while Marquez didn’t make the final push to the lead, he can rest easy knowing he gave a drive that lives up to his family name.

With such a chaotic race, there were certainly some championship implications. Polesitter Fabio Quartararo dropped back to finish ninth, but he still leads the championship with 115 points.

Joan Mir, though, sits just 10 points behind him, despite an uncharacteristically poor 11th-place finish. It’s possible for him to eat up the gap, but he’ll have work to do in these last five races.

Andrea Dovisioso and Maverick Vinales are separated by a single point in their battle for third overall (97 to Vinales’ 96).

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Top 10:

1. Danilo Petrucci
2. Alex Marquez
3. Pol Espargaro
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Johann Zarco
6. Miguel Oliveira
7. Takaaki Nakagami
8. Stefan Bradl
9. Fabio Quartararo
10. Maverick Viñales

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

exage03040
Exage03040 - Red Puck Down

Fabio took it easy on Friday in the rainy free practices playing it safe. This cost him dearly at the start of the race as he couldn’t come to terms with the rain tires quick enough. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be first into corner with Miller 2nd on the grid who has consistently better starts with that Ducati.

It was a dismal day for Yamaha anyways, I expected them to have a bit of trouble in the dry but the wet made it exponentially worse. Their only saving graces were that Mir (and Suzuki) had a slightly worse day, Dovi wrecked his rear tire and didn’t make the podium, and neither did Miller with the mechanical. Another poor start from Maverick had him involved by the crash from Rossi setting him back again. Morbidelli going down and wrecking the bike too.

I expected decent results from Ducati and KTM. I was hesitant to include Honda because of the year they’re having, but Alex not only got the job done but was flying mid race, I mean the man started P18 and went to 2nd!! Had Crashlow (intentional) not gone down they would have had their best weekend this season by far. Even Bradl who normally just toots along at the back was up in 8th. Another consistent 7th place performance by Nakagami puts him now in 5th for the riders.

It was a bit of a sleeper for the first 1/2. Lap 18 T9 is where everything went nuts with the 2 by 2 into the corner where the pair behind [Miller and Rins] both refused to get on the brakes. I thought Rins was going to bowling ball at least one Ducati. No official video yet so a quick screen grab: