Jorge Martin completes 'perfect weekend' as Brad Binder takes 8th at French MotoGP

Prima Pramac Racing's Spanish rider Jorge Martin celebrates after winning the French MotoGP. Picture: Lou Benoist / AFP

Prima Pramac Racing's Spanish rider Jorge Martin celebrates after winning the French MotoGP. Picture: Lou Benoist / AFP

Published May 12, 2024


Jorge Martin landed his "perfect weekend" and extended his lead in the championship with a thrilling victory in the French MotoGP at Le Mans on Sunday.

South Africa’s Brad Binder finished in eight position, just over 10 second behind winner Martin.

The Spaniard, who won Saturday's sprint, battled the entire race with rival Francesco Bagnaia before Marc Marquez, starting from 13th spot on the grid, arrived late to steal second place.

Pramac Ducati rider Martin heads the standings with 129 points, 38 ahead of Bagnaia who moved into second spot. Marquez is third a further two points back.

"There's not a lot I can say today," said Martin.

"I had a lot of doubts at the beginning of the race but finally I demonstrated to myself and all the people that need something else to prove that I was the best today.

"So, (I am) really happy. Thanks to my team because after some crashes they repaired the bike. The bike was perfect.

"Making one, one (two firsts) here in Le Mans I think was the best and perfect weekend."

Martin, a winner already this season in Portugal, did not make the best of starts from pole position, losing first place to Bagnaia on the opening lap.

The two were then locked wheel to wheel for the remainder of the race.

Bagnaia, on his factory Ducati, fought off several attacks from Martin before he finally slipped through seven laps from the end.

Bagnaia tried hard to reclaim the lead but found himself under pressure from Marquez, the six-time champion, who was eyeing victory in France following a superb ride in Spain when he came second behind Bagnaia.

Plagued by injuries and then vision issues in the past few years some feared his best days were behind him.

Marquez, however, picked up pace even as the tyres on his Gresini Ducati began to wear and picked off Bagnaia on the final lap to snatch another valuable second which lifts him to third in the standings.

"The most impressive thing is that when I was alone the pace was there and I was catching the top guys," Marquez said.

"In the end I tried for five laps to overtake Peco (Bagnaia) but he was braking super late.

"On that last lap I said 'OK, I try' and it was a good overtake. This time I was able to defend the line and defend well the last sector.

"We keep learning things on this bike and today we were fast."

It was ultimately a disappointing day for defending two-time champion Bagnaia who might easily have won but had to settle for the bottom step on the podium.

"I tried everything... but these two in the last laps had something more," he said.

"Let's move on to the next one. I'm sure that for the future we can better."

Bagnaia's next opportunity will come on May 26 at the Catalan MotoGP in Barcelona.