In the Moto3 race of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, it was Frenchman Louis Rossi who kept his nerve to take his first ever win in treacherous conditions in front of his home crowd.
In a race that started in extremely wet conditions, it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who got away best, with AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin also making a tremendous start from 10th into second. JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who was second on the grid, suffered mechanical issues on the out-lap and was unable to start the race.
There were crashes early on as RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder took out TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, which was followed up shortly after with IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger and local rider, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, sliding off into the gravel.
Back at the front it was Bankia Aspar Team’s Héctor Faubel and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom that went into the lead, as Viñales dropped off the pace slightly. However the conditions continued to take their toll, as Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati suffered a similar fate to last race as he also lost control of his bike, putting an end to his first French race. Technomag-CIP-TSR’s Kenta Fujii repeated his morning warm-up crash, rounding out a less than ideal day for the Japanese rider.
With 18 laps to go, a five-some of Faubel, Salom, Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira and Viñales were involved in an entertaining battle for podium positions. In the following laps, further casualties of the weather were Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent, Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb, Ambrogio Next Racing’s Simone Grotzkyj and Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller, while Fenati’s teammate Alessandro Tonucci had to retire to the pits with a mechanical problem.
With 11 laps to go there was drama at the front as Faubel crashed out of first position, with Kornfeil crashing out of third a few seconds later, handing the first three places to Oliveira, Viñales and Rossi. Half a lap later, Salom followed suit as he slid off into the gravel in ever worsening conditions.
As a thrilling fight for fourth ensued between Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese and Khairuddin, there was further turmoil at the front, as the surging Oliveira crashed out of the lead, handing the reigns to Viñales, who was being hunted down by Rossi.
This lasted for a lap only, as Viñales threw himself of his bike in the final corner, followed shortly by Khairuddin. The Malaysian managed to keep his bike going, while the race was over for the Spaniard. This left Frenchman Rossi in the lead by over 20 seconds, much to the delight of the home crowd, with Cortese and Bankia Aspar’s Alberto Moncayo in podium positions. Three laps before the end Cortese lost the front going into the first chicane, yet managed to keep the bike going to re-join in sixth, with Oliveira’s teammate Alex Rins slipping into third with San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli on his tail.
In the end it was Rossi who made the Le Mans grandstands cheer with delight as he took his first ever victory by a margin of 28 seconds in front of Moncayo and Rins. Antonelli could not quite challenge for the podium finishing fourth, in front of Red Bull KTM Ajo duo of Arthur Sissis and Cortese and Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema.
2012 Le Mans Moto3 Results:
|1.||25||96||Louis ROSSI||FRA||Racing Team Germany||FTR Honda||122.5||49’12.390|
|2.||20||23||Alberto MONCAYO||SPA||Bankia Aspar Team||Kalex KTM||121.3||+27.348|
|3.||16||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Estrella Galicia 0,0||Suter Honda||121.3||+28.899|
|4.||13||27||Niccolò ANTONELLI||ITA||San Carlo Gresini Moto3||FTR Honda||121.1||+33.195|
|5.||11||61||Arthur SISSIS||AUS||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||121.0||+36.989|
|6.||10||11||Sandro CORTESE||GER||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||120.6||+45.312|
|7.||9||53||Jasper IWEMA||NED||Moto FGR||FGR Honda||120.1||+58.645|
|8.||8||89||Alan TECHER||FRA||Technomag-CIP-TSR||TSR Honda||119.8||+1’05.022|
|9.||7||21||Ivan MORENO||SPA||Andalucia JHK Laglisse||FTR Honda||119.7||+1’09.194|
|10.||6||30||Giulian PEDONE||SWI||Ambrogio Next Racing||Suter Honda||118.2||+1’45.751|
|11.||5||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||IodaRacing Project||Ioda||116.0||1 Lap|
|12.||4||77||Marcel SCHROTTER||GER||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra||115.1||1 Lap|
|13.||3||86||Kevin HANUS||GER||Thomas Sabo GP Team||Honda||114.0||1 Lap|
|14.||2||19||Alessandro TONUCCI||ITA||Team Italia FMI||FTR Honda||109.6||2 Laps|
|15.||1||31||Niklas AJO||FIN||TT Motion Events Racing||KTM||100.6||4 Laps|
|63||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN||MAL||AirAsia-Sic-Ajo||KTM||121.4||7 Laps|
|25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Blusens Avintia||FTR Honda||122.8||8 Laps|
|44||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Estrella Galicia 0,0||Suter Honda||122.8||9 Laps|
|39||Luis SALOM||SPA||RW Racing GP||Kalex KTM||122.3||11 Laps|
|55||Hector FAUBEL||SPA||Bankia Aspar Team||Kalex KTM||122.6||12 Laps|
|84||Jakub KORNFEIL||CZE||Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta||FTR Honda||122.6||12 Laps|
|32||Isaac VIÑALES||SPA||Ongetta-Centro Seta||FTR Honda||119.1||12 Laps|
|26||Adrian MARTIN||SPA||JHK T-Shirt Laglisse||FTR Honda||119.7||16 Laps|
|8||Jack MILLER||AUS||Caretta Technology||Honda||107.4||16 Laps|
|15||Simone GROTZKYJ||ITA||Ambrogio Next Racing||Suter Honda||120.2||17 Laps|
|99||Danny WEBB||GBR||Mahindra Racing||Mahindra||101.9||17 Laps|
|52||Danny KENT||GBR||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||119.4||19 Laps|
|5||Romano FENATI||ITA||Team Italia FMI||FTR Honda||113.6||22 Laps|
|10||Alexis MASBOU||FRA||Caretta Technology||Honda||113.3||23 Laps|
|51||Kenta FUJII||JPN||Technomag-CIP-TSR||TSR Honda||108.8||23 Laps|
|41||Brad BINDER||RSA||RW Racing GP||Kalex KTM||0 Lap|
|3||Luigi MORCIANO||ITA||Ioda Team Italia||Ioda||0 Lap|
|7||Efren VAZQUEZ||SPA||JHK T-Shirt Laglisse||FTR Honda||0 Lap|
2012 Moto3 Championship Point Standings (After four of 18 rounds):
|2.||Maverick VIÑALES||FTR Honda||SPA||55|
|3.||Luis SALOM||Kalex KTM||SPA||49|
|4.||Romano FENATI||FTR Honda||ITA||45|
|5.||Alex RINS||Suter Honda||SPA||44|
|6.||Alberto MONCAYO||Kalex KTM||SPA||33|
|7.||Louis ROSSI||FTR Honda||FRA||32|
|8.||Niccolò ANTONELLI||FTR Honda||ITA||31|
|13.||Alan TECHER||TSR Honda||FRA||15|
|14.||Hector FAUBEL||Kalex KTM||SPA||15|
|15.||Efren VAZQUEZ||FTR Honda||SPA||11|
|16.||Miguel OLIVEIRA||Suter Honda||POR||11|
|17.||Ivan MORENO||FTR Honda||SPA||10|
|18.||Jasper IWEMA||FGR Honda||NED||9|
|19.||Giulian PEDONE||Suter Honda||SWI||7|
|20.||Jakub KORNFEIL||FTR Honda||CZE||7|
|21.||Alessandro TONUCCI||FTR Honda||ITA||7|
|23.||Brad BINDER||Kalex KTM||RSA||5|
|24.||Alex MARQUEZ||Suter Honda||SPA||5|