Miller wins chaotic flag-to-flag race
Ducati’s Jack Miller won a chaotic flag-to-flag French Grand Prix despite two longlap penalties in a crash-strewn MotoGP contest as Fabio Quartararo reclaimed the championship lead. The 27-lap race was declared dry for the start, but early rain led to MotoGP’s first flag-to-flag grand prix since Brno 2017 – with Miller prevailing despite a double long-lap penalty, while the day proved disastrous for world champions Suzuki.
Miller took the lead from third on the grid at the start ahead of the Yamaha duo Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo, while Marc Marquez muscled his way into fourth past Takaaki Nakagami. Vinales took the lead from Miller into the downhill La Chapelle right-hander on the second lap, with the top three quickly opening up 1.7s to the pack behind as spots of rain began to appear. Despite the rain falling, Quartararo and Miller engaged over the lead across the fourth tour, the Yamaha rider barging past at the Garage Vert double-apex right-hander.
Miller retaliated at the next corner and would drop to fourth on lap five when he ran off track at the Blue esses having ceded the lead to Quartararo again at the Dunlop chicane earlier in the tour. A moment for Suzuki’s Alex Rins – leaping up from 15th at the start – at the Musee lefthander allowed Marquez into third on lap five, with Quartararo leading the Honda rider, Rins and Miller into pitlane at the end of lap five to switch to their wet bikes.
Drama ensued in the pitlane as both Miller and Ducati teammate Francesco Bagnaia were hit with double long-lap penalties for speeding in pitlane, while Quartararo stopped in the wrong side of the Yamaha box – which netted him a long lap penalty. Despite the penalty, Miller’s pace on the soft wet rear tyre relative to Quartararo on the medium wet rear was such that he was only just over a second adrift of the Yamaha rider after his second long lap. (Agencies)