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MotoGP Le Mans: Heartbreak for Dixon as Lowes takes victory

Britain’s Jake Dixon handed countryman Sam Lowes the Moto2 win at the Le Mans MotoGP round this afternoon.

Dixon took advantage of a mistake by Lowes to open a three-second gap over the Marc VDS man but as Lowes closed it down to a second, Dixon crashed out with four laps to go.

Delays, drama and delight sums up the final action of the French GP weekend as Britain’s Sam Lowes took his first victory in four years, for his 100th Moto2 appearance, after a near-race long battle with compatriot Jake Dixon was only ended by a heartbreaking turn-14 crash with just four laps to go.


Remy Gardner and Marco Bezzecchi joined Lowes on the podium with championship-leader Luca Marini ending a disastrous weekend down in 17th.

Rain delayed the already amended schedule at Le Mans this afternoon with the 25-lap Moto2 race finally getting underway at 14:40 local time, a damp but drying track creating a more complex situation than the riders had anticipated. Declared wet but with no rain forecast, the grid faced a tyre gamble - the field unanimously deciding to start on slicks as the tentative action got underway.

Further drama developed before the lights had even gone out as pole-man Joe Roberts was removed from the grid, the lower placed riders having already gained a position after the omission of Aron Canet after the Spaniard was ruled out due to damage to his left hand thanks to his warm up accident.

The confusion continued as the lights went out before the American had even completed his warm up lap but an oblivious Gardner made the most of his unexpected promotion, leading through the first corner with Vierge and Martin following closely behind.

A less than preferable start saw Lowes initially fighting for fourth before his fightback began, advancing to second on the next circulation and launching for the lead moments later as the relegated Australian found himself challenged by both Xavi Vierge and teammate Dixon on the next revolutions.

As lap four began it was a British one-two, the pace increasing as the action, and tyres, warmed up. A lunge from Dixon saw him briefly take the lead before Lowes returned to the front, the tyres twitching as the battling pair continued to dance.

Lap five saw Vierge’s charge come to an untimely end after a major highside at turn 10, Jorge Martin having faced a similar fate two laps earlier.

Eight laps down and it was Dixon now in charge after a lock-up cost Lowes dearly, the 30-year-old regrouping quickly while suffering a three second deficit to his countryman but clear of danger as Bezzecchi sat a further two seconds down in third.

Riding in anger after the conflicting start procedure, Roberts was slicing through the field, having advanced to 12th by the halfway stage and lapping faster than the leaders despite the traffic he faced.


Lowes’ recovery took just six short laps as he began to reel in the Petronas in front, his Marc VDS teammate, Augusto Fernandez, running just as strong as he made his move on Gardner for fourth before closing in hard on Bezzecchi for the final podium position.

With fastest laps flying in, Dixon responded to Lowes’ challenge, improving his pace to keep a second’s advantage to the number 22, the three-way battle for third occupying the riders behind. A lonely race saw Thomas Luthi 14 seconds down in sixth with a sterling effort from a battered and bruised Fabio Di Giannantonio in seventh. Eight laps to go and the advancing Roberts challenged Marcel Schrotter for eighth, the American winning out in the third sector before setting his sights on the injured Speed Up ahead, capitalising on the position shortly after.

The closing laps saw a consistent rhythm out front while the battle for third continued before disaster struck for race leader Dixon. His debut victory disappearing in a cloud of dust at turn 14 as the top step dream was handed to Lowes and the third place scrap became an even more important challenge for second.

As the flag prepared to drop, it was Bezzecchi and Gardner still fighting hard, the Italian losing out in the final corners as the determined Australian made his move. Fernandez settled for fourth ahead of Luthi in fifth as an impressively aggressive ride from Roberts saw him home in sixth - the disgruntled American left to wonder what could have been without the earlier drama.


A heroic effort left Di Giannantonio seventh, with Lorenso Baldassari, Somkiat Chantra and Schrotter rounding out the top-10. A post-race penalty demoted Enea Bastianini to 11th with Hector Garzo, Marcos Ramirez, Stefano Manzi and Hafizh Syahrin claiming the final available points. A painful weekend saw Marini conclude the race in 17th.

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