Following its visit to the Iberian Peninsula with the Portugal & Spanish GPs, the European leg of the World Championship presses on ahead this weekend. The legendary circuit of Le Mans will host the French MotoGP 2022, and seventh race of the season, this weekend (May 13-15).
The La Sarthe racetrack, 185 km south of Paris, is expected to summon up the crowds to wrap their national hero up in a sensational atmosphere. To contribute to the ectasis of the French fans, current champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) arrives at his home event at the head of the standings.
After his second place in Jerez, ‘El Diablo’ leads the table with 89 points, seven more than Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia), and 20 more than Álex Rins (Suzuki) and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing). As the undisputed star of the French round, the local hero will strive to climb to the top of the home podium for the first time in his career.
Encouraged by the support of the public, Quartararo would want to make up for Andalusia two weeks ago, where he was unable to overtake ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Ducati) despite running hot on his heel for virtually the entire race.
The @MotoGP grid gears up for another race weekend on the iconic Le Mans track. Our #MICHELINPower range of tires is ready to tumble another records and offer confidence & performance for a firely show at home.
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— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) May 10, 2022
The French pilot, however, will not have an easy ride. Among his many opponents, the ‘reborn’ Italian driver will fight for his second (consecutive) victory of the season in order to consolidate his ascending line at the French MotoGP 2022.
Currently fifth in the standings with 56 points, 33 less than the Quartararo, Bagnaia needs to keep on closing the gap every Sunday. Thankfully, he will now have a Desmosedici that is finally up for the job! One of the points of interest of the French MotoGP 2022 will be precisely the confirmation of the GP22’s jump in performance.
Therefore, if the forecasts come true, something unlikely in a World Championship with five different winners in six races, the two main bidders for the 2021 crown, will come head-to-head again this year starting on Friday.
Aleix Espargaró: A fourth podium to remain at the top
Second in the standings with just seven points less than Quartararo, Aleix Espargaró is one of the clear contenders for the top three positions at Le Mans. He faces this weekend in great shape after his two consecutive podiums in Portimão and Jerez, three in total in 2022.
Marc Márquez is another one to watch out for. The rider from Lleida and his team, Honda, are optimistic despite not having yet achieved any victory in this World Championship. Following a positive race and tests in Jerez, the eighth-times-champion is confident he is now clear about what he should do.
His efforts will be on improving and narrowing the gap with the top. The #93 has won three MotoGP races in Le Mans, where he was the sole ruler in 2021 until he fell.
The Suzuki pilots: In shock after their team’s quitting announcement
Much to their regret, all eyes will be on Suzuki this weekend at the French MotoGP 2022. Its pilots Álex Rins and Joan Mir will take to the track just 24 hours after the release of the official statement in which the Japanese team confirmed their withdrawal from the Championship at the end of the season.
In a bid to prove its team wrong, the pilot from Barcelona, currently fourth in the standings but tied on 69 points with the third, Enea Bastianini, has stated that they will give all they have in the asphalt at Bugatti.
Options for the ‘not so obvious’ such as Miller
All of these predictions, however, can change with the temperamental weather of Le Mans that we are so used to. If the rain makes an appearance, the a priori ‘favourites’ might be left behind by riders who are more skilled in the wet. Jack Miller (Ducati), for instance, would have a great opportunity to repeat his Le Mans’ success of 2021. If he does so, that would be his second podium of 2022 after the United States.
Images of French MotoGP 2022.