Ducati works rider Danilo Petrucci won the 2020 French Grand Prix at Le Mans in a surprise move. The rider beat Alex Marquez on the factory Honda, who bagged his career's first-ever premier-class podium and the factory team's first podium of the season. Coming in third was KTM's Pol Espargaro in yet another unpredictable podium result. The French GP was delayed with the arrival of rain a few minutes before the start, which set the tone for the rest of the a dramatic race.
The race started with Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha SRT on pole, alongside Jack Miller of Pramac Ducati and Danilo Petrucci in the front row. However, a fourth-starting LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow managed to take the lead initially, but was passed by Miller on Turn 3. The 10th placed Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha was one of the first casualties as he crashed on the first chicane. The incident held up Joan Mir of Suzuki, Yamaha's Maverick Vinales and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.
However, Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci were quick to move behind Miller at the front making a top three Ducati affair. Quartararo moved up to P4 soon but struggled immensely to keep pace in the wet conditions. As the opening lap was nearing its final corners, Petrucci found a gap to pass Miller and secured the lead with Dovizioso following his teammate into P2.
The top three Ducatis though were close and steadily built the buffer over the rest of the pack. At P4, Suzuki's Alex Rins recovered from 16th to lead the second set of riders and was now looking to pass Miller. The gap between the riders was down to one second on Lap 11, and Rins finally found the opportunity to pass the Pramac rider four laps later at Turn 3. However, Miller wasn't giving up so easy and managed to retake P3 from the Suzuki just a few corners later.
On Lap 18, Dovizioso passed Petrucci to take the lead in the race but the latter would pass Dovi once again. Meanwhile, Rins climbed up to P2 passing Dovizioso soon after. Miller was now looking to move up to P3 again but had to retire early after an issue with his GP20 on the following lap. Rins couldn't hold on to second place either and crashed out on Turn 3 on Lap 20.
In the lead, Petrucci now had a 2.7s gap over his teammate after Rins' crash, but Dovi was quick to close in on that. However, at the back, Alex Marquez was making some great strides in his first wet race and was now closing in the top two riders with the final few laps left. Dovizioso's rear tyre started to give away and that was enough for the Honda rookie to pass the rider to claim P2. Petrucci remained unchallenged as the race entered its final lap and he managed to pass the chequered flag taking his career's second win, becoming the seventh different winner of the season.
Honda finally secured its first podium this year with Alex, giving the young rider a much-needed boost. Dovizioso's tyre troubles meant Pol Espargaro was able to pass the rider in the final stages completing the podium. Dovi held on to fourth despite the fading tyre and finished ahead of Johann Zarco of Avintia Ducati. Tech 3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira took P6 followed by LCR's Takaaki Nakagami, while Stefan Bradl on the second factory Honda secured his first points of the season finishing at P8.
Quartararo struggled through the race only to finish at P9 followed by Vinales at P10, while it was a similar case for title contender Joan Mir who couldn't do better than P11 in the wet conditions. KTM's Brad Binder took P12 in his first wet race, while Francesco Bagnaia was unable to build on the same pace as his other Ducati teammates, finishing at P13. The final points were taken by Aleix Espargaro followed by Iker Lecuona of Tech 3 KTM.
The French GP had a number of casualties with a good chunk of the grid wiped out including Alex Rins, Tito Rabat, Jack Miller, Valentino Rossi, Franco Morbidelli, Cal Crutchlow, and Bradley Smith. The unpredictable race result does not make a dent in the points for the title contenders. Quartararo still leads the standings with 115 points, while Mir trails behind by 10 points, followed by Dovizioso at 97 points. The action now moves to Aragon next week for two back-to-back rounds.