Pecco Bagnaia has held on to his MotoGP World Championship lead but is now just a solitary point clear of fellow Italian Marco Bezzecchi after a drama-filled round five in France at the weekend.
The racing at the Le Mans circuit provided drama by the bucket load as the chase to be crowned the MotoGP King in 2023 took yet another decisive twist.
A second victory of the year for Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing) saw him cash in on Bagnaia’s (Ducati Lenovo Team) tangle with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) to close the reigning World Champion’s lead down to just one point.
But Bezzecchi won’t be Bagnaia’s only concern heading to his home Grand Prix at the magnificent Mugello because there’s now four riders split by just 14 points at the top of the standings.
Bagnaia’s primary concern will, of course, be Bezzecchi after a second Grand Prix win of 2023 saw him cut Bagnaia’s post-Jerez advantage by 21 points.
KTM and Brad Binder will also concern the number one, though. Yet another sensational Sprint performance saw him steal a point back on Bagnaia before a sixth place finish in Sunday’s Grand Prix added another ten points to the South African’s ever-growing tally. He now sits 13 adrift of Bagnaia and right in contention.
The biggest mover over the weekend is Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin. The Spaniard moved up from seventh to fourth, and went from 39 points adrift to now only 14.
A first Sprint win on Saturday, followed up by 20 further points in Sunday’s Grand Prix was “The Martinator’s” best weekend of the season by some margin, helping him emerge as our latest title contender.
Martin’s Prima Pramac Racing team-mate Johann Zarco, meanwhile, crept up to fifth, now 28 points behind Bagnaia.
The weekend’s big loser was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jack Miller after a double DNF stunted the Australian’s progression.
Up to fourth and brimming with confidence after double podium delight in Jerez, Miller has now slipped back to eighth in the standings and sits 45 points away from the title leader.
Photo courtesy MotoGP
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2023 MotoGP World Champs standings after round five of 20:
|1||Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Lenovo Team (GP23)||4||94.00|
|2||Marco Bezzecchi, Mooney VR46 Racing Team (GP22)||2||93.00|
|3||Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16)||2||81.00|
|4||Jorge Martin, Prima Pramac Racing (GP23)||1||80.00|
|5||Johann Zarco, Prima Pramac Racing (GP23)||66.00|
|6||Luca Marini, Mooney VR46 Racing Team (GP22)||54.00|
|7||Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23)||49.00|
|8||Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16)||49.00|
|9||Fabio Quartararo, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1)||49.00|
|10||Alex Rins, LCR Honda CASTROL (RC213V)||1||47.00|
|11||Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23)||42.00|
|12||Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing MotoGP (GP22)||41.00|
|13||Franco Morbidelli, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1)||40.00|
|14||Augusto Fernandez, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 (RC16)||30.00|
|15||Fabio di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing MotoGP (GP22)||25.00|
|16||Miguel Oliveira, CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team (RS-GP22)||21.00|
|17||Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU (RC213V)||21.00|
|18||Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16)||13.00|
|19||Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team (RC213V)||12.00|
|20||Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team (RC213V)||5.00|
|21||Michele Pirro, Ducati Lenovo (GP23)||5.00|
|22||Danilo Petrucci, Ducati Lenovo Team (GP23)||5.00|
|23||Jonas Folger, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 (RC16)||4.00|
|24||Raul Fernandez, CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team (RS-GP22)||3.00|
|25||Stefan Bradl, Team HRC (RC213V)||2.00|
|26||Pol Espargaro, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 (RC16)||0.00|
|27||Enea Bastianini, Ducati Lenovo Team (GP23)||0.00|
|28||Iker Lecuona, Repsol Honda Team (RC213V)||0.00|