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Jorge Martin was triumphant in a thrilling battle with Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia to cap a memorable MotoGP weekend as he won the French Grand Prix. Having succeeded in the Sprint earlier in the weekend, Martin overcame intense pressure to convert another pole position, with Marquez beating Bagnaia to second.

Bagnaia made a lightning start to surge into the lead and denied Martin from sneaking back through in the opening corners to maintain first place from the Spaniard. The Ducati man crossed the line at the end of the first lap with a narrow advantage over Martin, with Aleix Espargaro, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Pedro Acosta trailing.

However, Acosta ruined his prospects of landing another impressive result as a lunge on Di Giannantonio’s Ducati VR46 bike ended with him losing the front at Turn 8. Meanwhile, Di Giannantonio’s team-mate Marco Bezzecchi endured another premature end to a race as last season’s French GP winner crashed out on the fourth lap.

Marquez had sliced through the pack from 12th on the grid to claim second in the Sprint and the Gresini Ducati rider had clawed his bike up to sixth within five tours. Espargaro and Di Giannantonio had been retaining pace with the top two in the opening stages, but began to battle and were dropping back from Bagnaia and Martin.

Alex Rins had failed to match Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo across the weekend and his woes continued as he received a long-lap penalty for cutting Turn 9.

Di Giannantonio had been sizing up Espargaro and completed the move on Lap 10, with Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez also making overtakes stick the next lap. Espargaro’s outing was going from bad to worse as Quartararo was opportunistic to poach a place when Enea Bastianini forced the Spaniard off the circuit at Turn 10. But while Bastianini had demoted Espargaro, the Italian would not reap the reward as the stewards penalised the Ducati for running off the track during that overtake.

Marc Marquez was continuing to charge back towards the frontrunners and he displaced Vinales for fourth on Lap 14, with Di Giannantonio the next rider on the road. Three laps later the Spaniard was on his rival’s tail, but Di Giannantonio stood firm when Marquez lunged into Turn 2 and went wide at Turn 3 to regain third on the exit.

However, Marquez would not be denied on the next lap as Di Giannantonio ran wide to hand the former third, while home hero Quartararo crashed out from the points. Martin had been edging closer to Bagnaia and the tussle for the race lead intensified on Lap 20 as the Pramac Ducati rider dived to the inside at the opening chicane.

But Bagnaia was not about to give up first place without a fight and replicated his move on Marc Marquez at Jerez last time out to cut back underneath his title rival. Meanwhile, the top two’s ongoing battle was enabling Marc Marquez to bring his name into contention to evolve the French GP into an enthralling three-rider contest.

However, KTM team-mate Jack Miller had a wretched afternoon and crashed out of the race, while Augusto Fernandez delivered minor points for GasGas with 13th. Espargaro sustained trouble rediscovering his momentum after being demoted down the order and took ninth, with Alex Marquez completing the top 10 for Gresini.

Raul Fernandez wound up 11th for Trackhouse Aprilia as team-mate Miguel Oliveira suffered a premature exit, with Johann Zarco remaining the lead Honda in 12th. Joan Mir had been fighting for the top 10 places in the nascent exchanges on the factory Honda, but the Spaniard lost the front of his bike as grip levels decreased.

Zarco’s team-mate at LCR Honda, Takaaki Nakagami, accompanied the Frenchman with a points finish in 14th, as Alex Rins ensured that Yamaha didn’t go pointless. Elsewhere, Luca Marini encountered a nightmare showing once again this campaign as he was the final classified rider in 16th place, nine seconds behind Rins ahead.