Australian rider Jack Miller made it back to back wins on his Ducati with a dramatic victory in a windy, rain-strewn French MotoGP at Le Mans on Sunday.
Miller, who won the last race in Spain, finished ahead of French pair Johann Zarco, riding for Ducati’s satellite Pramac team, and Fabio Quartararo, on a Yamaha, who takes over the lead in the championship.
Quartararo, who has won two races this season and started on pole here, has 80 points, one more than Miller’s teammate Francesco Bagnaia who finished fourth.
It was a major bonus for the Frenchman, coming just 12 days after undergoing ‘arm pump’ surgery following problems with his right forearm, which saw him slip to a 13th place finish last time out at Jerez.
The difficult conditions which saw rain sweeping across the Bugatti circuit led to numerous bikes sliding off the track, leading to a mass bike change for wet tyres when the race went ‘flag to flag’.
“I know the possibility of a podium is very low,” said Marc Marquez just before the race but when the riders reemerged after the change of bikes, it was the six-times world champion who took charge.
In his third race back after a year out with injury, Marquez opened up a promising lead before sliding off with 19 laps remaining.
The Spaniard struggled to get his bike upright but remounted and picked his way through the field before dropping out before the finish.
Miller had made an excellent start taking the lead from pole-sitter Quartararo and these two battled it out for most of the race before and after the bike change. Both were hit with penalties which allowed Zarco, who was flying after the change, to close up and chase them to the flag.
Zarco did overtake Quartararo but did not have enough in the tank to overhaul Miller who crossed the line over four seconds clear.
South Africa’s Brad Binder finished 13th, nearly a full minute behind Miller.