The crowds packed into one of the most famous motorsport facilities in the world - Le Mans - for the SHARK Grand Prix de France and round seven of the MotoGP™ season. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia stared for the KTM GP Academy by winning the Moto3 contest and Augusto Fernandez owns Moto2.
Moto3 propelled the seventh Grand Prix of the season into action and with ominous skies Practice and qualification had been sunny and dry on Friday and Saturday but the conditions altered for a cooler Sunday. Rainfall in the first two laps saw multiple riders crash and the race was red-flagged. The second stint was shortened to 14 laps.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia used his impressive braking strength to remain consistently at the front of the pack upon the restart. The Spaniard, who is in peak form, defied the late attempt by Ayumu Sasaki to steal the lead and won his second GP of the season (after the USA) and sixth of his career by just a tenth of a second. Teammate Daniel Holgado fell at Turn 3 after contact with another rider but was able to return to the pitlane for the second leg of the race. The rookie was 11th and only three seconds behind Masia.
Red Bull KTM’s Deniz Öncü, who rode to 9th place at Le Mans last year, repeated the classification and was firmly in the mix along with Masia. The Turk’s speed was commendable after a quick highside crash at Turn 14 on Saturday. Adrian Fernandez rode to 20th.
Masia is now 2nd in the world championship and 17 points from Sergio Garcia.
Jaume Masia: “Amazing. Incredible. It was not easy to manage the situation after the rain I just want to say thanks to the team because we are so strong. We might not always be the fastest but we are really competitive. Le Mans paid me back for last year when I broke my wrist here. Amazing. We like Mugello so we’ll keep pushing. Thanks to everybody.”
In the intermediate class it was Augusto Fernandez who was in determined form and rode to a clear first victory for the team and his first win since the 2019 season. The Spaniard signaled his intentions from Friday morning by logging lap-times that placed him right at the top of the classification. In the race he trailed teammate Pedro Acosta as the two Red Bull KTM Ajo pulled away from the field and ran 1-2; Acosta’s front-end slip at Turn 6 was a costly error for the rookie but allowed Fernandez to have a free track and put the Ajo team back on top of the rostrum for the first occasion this season.
Augusto Fernandez: “Very good to be back up here. It’s been a long two years to wait for this moment again. I was feeling good with the team and we just had to let the moment come. I felt great here from Friday and we finally we did it. The pace was so, so high and Pedro was pushing a lot. His time will come! It was hard to manage the distance at the front alone: it was tougher than when fighting with the group! Thanks to my team and everyone.”
The opening round of the 2022 Northern Talent Cup featured the first two races this season and Rossi Moor claimed the checkered flag on Saturday at Le Mans. The field took to the track with their KTM RC4Rs on a sunny Sunday for the second outing and it was Kevin Farkas who burst through. The NTC is with MotoGP again for round three at the Sachsenring in Germany on June 18-19.
MotoGP breaks for another week and before intense consecutive weekends at Mugello and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the end of the month.
Results Moto3 SHARK Grand Prix de France 2022
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 24:04.119
2. Ayumu Sasaki, (JPN), Husqvarna +0.150
3. Izan Guevara, (ESP), GASGAS +0.220
4. Dennis Foggia, (ITA), Honda +0.322
5. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN), Honda +0.529
9. Deniz Öncü, (TUR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +2.502
11. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +3.025
20. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +12.382
Results Moto2 SHARK Grand Prix de France 2022
1. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 40:31.726
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +3.746
3. Somkiat Chantra (THA) +4.628
DNF. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo