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  • Reese Mautone

MotoGP Feature: A Tale Of Highs And Lows For Our Australian MotoGP Riders At The French Grand Prix

Jack Miller put on an impressive display at Round 7’s French Grand Prix, while fellow Australian Remy Gardner’s race was cut short due to crashing out.



The French GP was held on May 15 in Le Mans at the Circuit Bugatti. Drawing in crowds of over 110,000 spectators for Sunday’s race, many, if not all, were eager to see French reigning World Champion Fabio Quatararo in his first outing on home soil since claiming the title last year.


Escaping the rainy weather that hit both Moto2 and Moto3, the Circuit Bugatti continued to provide quite the spectacle for the packed grandstands, proving why MotoGP has earned the coveted record of being the most attended motorsport event in France.


For MotoGP rookie Remy Gardner, the weekend was far from a highlight in his first season. The reigning Moto2 champion had scored points in two of the first six opening rounds this season, with his best finish being 14th in Portimao. Speaking with Crash.net on Friday, Gardner said France seemed to be “bleak” in comparison to his past endeavours in the sport.


“We’re kind of a bit lost I think. It’s hard. It was hard in Jerez, hard here. It’s pretty bleak at the moment,” Gardner said to Crash.net. He only put in a time good enough for 22nd in Friday's free practices, ahead of teammate Raul Fernandez in 23rd.


Gardner qualified and started the 27-lap Grand Prix in 22nd, again ahead of Fernadez in 24th. The young Australian’s race got off to a desirable start edging closer towards a points finish, however, contact with fellow rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio on Lap 4 of the Grand Prix forced Gardner to retire from the race.


Explaining the repercussions of his incident, the Australian said the injuries obtained in Jerez had worsened because of the crash.


“Every weekend there is a new injury. I'm sick of it honestly and just want to go home. It burns and my ankle I don't know, it doesn't feel good that's for sure', he said, speaking to Motorcycle Sports post-race.


Further up the grid, fellow Australian Jack Miller qualified to start 2nd on the grid, a mere 0.069 seconds behind his Italian teammate Francesco Bagnaia who set a new lap record of 1:30.450s at the Circuit Bugatti on the Saturday.


“It’s so great to be back up on the podium here in France after being up there in the battle the last two races, that’s for sure. I just hadn’t been able to do anything with it, until today anyway,” Miller said post-race with Motorcycle News.


“Finishing second, that’s my best result since I won here last year, and it’s amazing how one result can turn things around. It felt like a reward for the hard work the team and me had been putting in.”


Miller put in satisfactory results across the whole weekend and throughout FP1, FP2, FP3 and FP4 finishing in 10th, 7th, 6th and 5th respectively.


Capitalising on his strong start and the mistakes made by others, Miller was able to finish the race in second place earning himself 20 points towards the title fight in which he currently sits in 5th position with 2 podiums to his name. Miller came into the weekend 11th in the championship.


Miller’s teammate, who at the time was ahead of him and fighting for 1st place, crashed out in a disappointing spectacle for MotoGP fans. Bagnaia lost the front of his bike and crashed out behind Enea Bastianini with only six laps to go, losing his almost certain top-two finish.


For the Italian, it was a costly mistake in his title fight against Quatararo and Espargaro, especially disappointing after his impressive win at the Spanish GP last round in Jerez.


Crossing the finish line at the MotoGP French Grand Prix saw the podium places occupied by Enea Bastianini in first place, Jack Miller in second place and Aleix Espargaro in third place.



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