MotoGP 2022 Round Seven–Le Mans

[Sorry guys and Allison. This is going to happen occasionally with Catholic grandfathers. One of my grandsons is getting confirmed this weekend, which entails an all-day retreat on Saturday and a full slate of activities on Sunday. I will get up early on Sunday and watch the races, but practice and qualifying are mostly a lost cause. I will do a brief write-up of the MotoGP race, probably Sunday night.

Thank you for hanging with me.]

Let’s talk about race day.

Moto3 was a victim of a two-minute rain shower during the first two laps of the race, leaving almost a dozen riders dazed with gravel in their underwear, a red flag, and a 14 lap sprint as a result. Young Jaume Masia, the latest Pride of KTM, persevered against Ayuma Sasaki, Izan Guevara (the next great MotoGP rider) and Dennis Foggia, taking the lead in Turn 13 of the last lap for 25 points, gaining 12 points on series leader Sergio Garcia and cutting his lead for 2022 to 17 points. Foggia and Masia are tied, with young Guevara only 6 points farther back. The Hondas figure to have an advantage at Mugello, but, seriously, who can predict what will happen week-to-week in this, the best racing in MotoGP.

Moto2 was a two man procession led by the factory KTM duo of Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez. Acosta, a disappointment for 2022 after tearing a new one in the Moto3 championship last year, looked like he would finally begin to return to his dominant 2021 form, leading from the holeshot until an unforced error on Lap 11 took him out of the race, handing the win to teammate Fernandez. Bridesmaid Aron Canet took P2 yet again, with Thai sensation Somkiat Chantra stealing the final podium spot ahead of erstwhile American Cam Baubier, who came as close to his first grand prix podium as one can get. After an atrocious qualifying and early race, series leader Celestino Vietti salvaged eight points with a late charge, leaving him 16 points in front of Ai Ogura for the year, with Canet another three points back. Not the best Moto2 race I’ve ever seen, but they can’t all be barn burners.

MotoGP was eventful, especially for the Ducati contingent, which thrives at point-and-shoot layouts like Bugatti. From gasping Yamaha pilot Frankie Morbidelli running off track during the sighting lap to Pecco Bagnaia crashing out of the lead on Lap 21, ceding the win to Enea Bastianini, there was something for every taste and budget. Alex Rins continued his recent return to MotoGP hell, crashing out on Lap 2 after going for a long walkabout in the gravel. Herve Poncharal’s KTM boys crashed out within three laps of one another early in the race. Joan Mir joined Suzuki teammate Rins on the sidelines after crashing out on Lap 14.

Bastianini moved past Jack Miller into P2 on Lap 12, setting up an Italian Ducati duel with Bagnaia, which took shape on Lap 19. Bastianini is my current favorite to take the 2022 title, having won three out of seven outings, consistently having plenty of rear tire left late in the race to scare the crap out of anyone still in front of him. Today it was Pecco who folded under the pressure, giving him two DNFs in 2022 and putting a serious dent in his title hopes. Miller held on for a rather quiet P2, with plucky Aleix Espargaro and his newly-competitive Aprilia keeping his chances alive with another impressive P3. Fabio Quartararo salvaged P4 after struggling early. Had the 100,000 French fans been sober at the end of the race, they would have been disappointed by their young heartthrob; as it was, P4 probably felt like a win. Johann Zarco, the other French pilot, looking increasingly like a caricature of the swarthy villain in an animated French movie, followed Fabio to the finish in P5, having disposed of the increasingly irrelevant Marc Marquez on Lap 17.

So, for the season, Quartararo sits on top with 102 points, followed by Aleix at 98 and EBas at 94. I’d have to go back and look, but my earlier-in-the-season projection for the 2022 podium had two of these guys, plus Joan Mir, slugging it out for the year. Mir and Rins appear to be completely scrambled by having their team collapse beneath them, withdrawing from the chase at the end of 2022. Pussies! I think it’s a safe bet that the Ducatis are going to enjoy another clambake at their home crib in Mugello in two weeks. Fabio is going to have to rely on some serious slipstreaming to keep up. I’ve stopped worrying about Espargaro, as he seems to do well everywhere after over a decade of futility; he must have a permanent erection these days.

A Little Eye Candy for Youse Guys

The girls from Moulin Rouge

Screenshot (752)

Vive la France. Downtown Sarthe.
Jack Miller’s brolly girl.
Quick–Pecco Bagnaia or Jorge Lorenzo?
France’s #1 sporting hero, 2022.
The raffish Johann Zarco.

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28 Responses to “MotoGP 2022 Round Seven–Le Mans”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Totally understand. We can wait for our anointed messenger.

    Thanks for all you do Grandpa Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Allison Sullivan Says:

    Celebrate the time with your family – we can all mutter amongst ourselves in the meantime. I’m not going to get a chance to watch the race Sunday either – taking a 6 hour road trip to pick up a friend’s new motorcycle I’ll try and watch the YouTube highlights reel at some point, I’ve totally missed the last couple of races.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Old MOron Says:

    Surprise, surprise!
    Quarty isn’t even on the front row.
    Le Mans is known as a stop-and-go track, so favours the Ducs.
    Surprise, surprise!
    Ducati are 1, 2 on the grid and have 4 of the top 6 spots.
    Surprise, surprise!
    Today’s weather was gorgeous. But tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain.
    I love flag-to-flag races!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Old MOron Says:

    Please let it rain, please.
    https://www.wunderground.com/hourly/fr/le-mans

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dmensch Says:

    Excellent report Bruce, and well worth the wait. Agreed on The Beast looking better and better for the 2022 title. Mir has got to be second guessing everyone’s theory that he should go to (failing) Honda next season. Agree with AEspargaro that if he’s not on an Aprilia next season “it would be the biggest bullshit in history of the World Cup”. Somkiat’s interviews in parc ferme are becoming my race weekend highlight! As a stogy old guy, I can’t understand why anyone would have all of Canet’s body art. With an infinite supply of eye candy all over the internet, maybe time to drop the low resolution screen shots of grid girls?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Old MOron Says:

    After the Moto3 excitement, Moto2 was a snoozer.
    After the Moto2 snoozer, MotoGP was a thriller.

    I sure feel bad for BaggyEyes. I wonder if the ’22 Duc is still not as good as the ’21.
    I feel great for Beastie and Team Gresini. I hope they can “win one for Fausto.”
    I feel frightened for Rins. What a terrifying trip through the gravel that must’ve been.
    I feel disappointed for KTM. When did they lose their concessions? I wonder if they’ve stalled without extra testing.
    I feel worried for Aprilia. Now that they’ve lost their concessions, how long can they remain near the front?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. paulevalence Says:

    maaaaannnnnn I was dissapointed.. The whole race was building to a Bagnaia/Bastianini Duel; and after the first pass by the Beast and the immediate response by Pecco I was like, yes! Game On!! But then Bagnaia faltered under the pressure and the race went back to being a procession…*resume laundry folding*

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Starmag Says:

    Baggy is starting look like he can be rattled bad enough to crash while in the lead or just passed for. First Antman, now this.

    The Thriller is under the gun.

    The Beast is starting to look like he’s for real and putting the screws to both Ducati factory riders.

    I think 8 Ducati riders is an unfair data advantage. Should be 2 factory/2 satellite for everyone. That would make for a 20 bike grid without Suzuki. That’s enough for me. What am I missing if anything?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Buzz Says:

      Baggy needs to learn to score points when he’s not fast enough for P1. P2 would have been easy in this race.

      The Marquez head shake on the warmup lap looks like it hurt his arm really bad. Doesn’t look like he’ll ever be the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Starmag Says:

        I missed the Marquez head shake, but I hope you’re wrong. No one else does those incredible entertaining saves.

        His problem seems to mostly be the new bike. No one is doing well with it.

        Like

  9. Allison Sullivan Says:

    What I can tell from the highlight reels, after spending all day in the car yesterday helping my friend buy a Honda Navi (which is ridiculously cute and I can’t wait to ride it soon).

    My boy Enea nails another one. The kid rides like a veteran, not a sophomore. I thought he’d have a good season this year, after spending the last half of last year gaining places at every race, but I certainly didn’t expect him to be breathing down Fabio’s neck at this point. Fabio is going to be punting that Yamaha very hard indeed for the rest of the season, because it doesn’t look at all like a competitive bike and only his brand of magic is keeping Yamaha’s hopes alive. Dog knows Frankie is being zero help, as much as I love him. I thought Taka might have a decent showing this time out, but alas.

    I have no clue how Bins is in the top five for points given that he rarely even sees out a race, but that gravel thing was sketchy even for him. Kudos to the dude that he offroaded it at 300km/h for as long as he did, that was seriously impressive.

    I didn’t watch Moto2 (I rarely do, there’s not a whole lot going on in that class this year even if the bikes sound incredible) but that Moto3 mass crash would have been comical if it hadn’t been terrifying. At least everybody slid off track and out of harms way, or that could have ended very badly for someone, Glad that everyone came out shiny side up, and what was left of the race was the usual hugely entertaining scrap.

    Might try and watch some recaps later this week. Off to enjoy the great weather and learn to ride a Can-Am 3 wheeler tonight. Should be good for grins.

    Like

  10. vassilg Says:

    More grid girls

    Like

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