Marc Marquez of Spain pulled off a remarkable comeback at the French Grand Prix on Sunday to earn his fifth win in as many MotoGP races this season.
Marquez slipped to 10th place on the opening lap despite taking pole position on Saturday, but the reigning world champion quickly made up ground on the Bugatti track and overtook Valentino Rossi of Italy on the 13th lap before pulling away.
“I made a mistake at the start,” Marquez said. “Maybe I was too relaxed off the line. Then when Jorge (Lorenzo) passed me, I had to take a wide line otherwise we would have touched, and as a result, many riders overtook me.”
Marquez finished 1.486 seconds clear of Rossi. Alvaro Bautista of Spain was third.
At 21, Marquez became the youngest rider to win five straight races in the top motorcycling category. The previous record belonged to British rider Mike Hailwood, who was 22 in 1962.
“It was a lot of fun,” Marquez said. “Although it might look easy to people, we are working extremely hard and this is the reward for the whole team.”
His 11th career MotoGP victory helped Marquez extend his lead over compatriot Dani Pedrosa at the top of the standings to 42 points. Pedrosa placed fifth at Le Mans.
In the Moto2 category, Mika Kallio of Finland moved within seven points of overall leader Esteve Rabat of Spain by winning his second straight race.
Simone Corsi took the lead on the third lap as Kallio patiently waited behind the Italian rider before making his move in the 19th. Kallio finished 1.015 seconds clear of Corsi and Rabat took third place.
In Moto 3, Jack Miller won his third race this season to increase his lead over Romano Fenati of Italy to 30 points.
Miller overtook Spaniards Efren Vazquez and Alex Rins in one audacious move to take the lead on the 23rd lap. The Australian rider shut the door on the final lap as Vazquez attempted to pass him on the inside.
“I did to him what he did to me earlier in the race,” Miller said.
Rins finished second and Isaac Vinales of Spain completed the podium. Rins had the lead for most of the race but could not pull away from the pack despite a lead of 1.76 seconds at the halfway stage. Fenati, who won the Spanish GP two weeks ago, retired because of electronics issues.
The next race is the Italian GP on June 1.Alvaro Bautista, Le Mans, Marc Marquez, MotoGP, Valentino Rossi