Rain fell during the opening minutes of Qualifying on Saturday for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France resulting in several favorites such as Danny Kent, Efren Vazquez and Brad Binder all qualifying down the grid.Fortunately the skies were clear come Sunday in Le Mans, but this still left a lot of work many riders to do. There was no doubt going to be incident into the first chicane with so many riders eager to impress thanks to surprise high position on the grid or make up spots having failed to set an early fast lap.
Brad Binder, Remy Gardner and Gabriel Rodrigo were all victims of this added pressure as they fell going in to the chicane. Efren Vazquez suffered a quick highside as he existed, ending any hopes of recovering points after his disastrous Qualifying. Whilst this was happening, Andrea Antonelli and Enea Beastianini had all made very fast starts and joined the leading group in the early stages having started seventh and 18th respectively. They were joined by Francesco Bagnaia, Fabio Quartararo and Romano Fenati, all who had started inside the top five.The battle for the victory became an exclusively Italian affair as Fabio Quartararo crashed out of his home Grand Prix as he exited Turn 4, just as Vazquez and several others had done. With both Quartararo and Vazquez out, Danny Kent was put in a comfortable situation with none of his main championship rivals looking set to score points in France.Despite this the Britain continued to push, having joined the front group in the closing stages from 30th on the grid. The ride demonstrated his ability to come back from adversity, the Brit having already demonstrated his ability to lead from the front in Austin and Argentina.It would be the Italian trio of Fenati, Bastianini and Bagnaia who would see Kent finish off the podium for the first time this season. Romano Fenati took his and KTM’s first win of the season having spent the entire race battling with his compatriots on the Honda and the Mahindra.“The start of the season was hard, the bike wasn’t perfect and the performance was less. We worked very hard every time and today we have the victory. The bike was perfect today and in the last lap the tire was OK. In Jerez the tire was gone after 5 laps so we’ve improved a lot,” said the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider.Bastianini has now made a habit of coming back from poor grid positions to claim podium finishes, having performed a similar feat in Qatar at the season opener. “It’s a very difficult race today. My start was nice and I was always pushing to the max this race. In the last laps I had too much movement so the win wasn’t possible,” he reflected.He moves into second in the championship with 67 points, but it 37 behind Danny Kent as the Brit takes a firm lead in the Moto3 Championship. The series now breaks for two weeks ahead of Mugello.
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!