No chequered flag for Fenati and Lopez at Le Mans

A racing collision between Husqvarna Motorcycles teammates Romano Fenati and Alonso Lopez counted both riders out of the Moto3™ Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France

The tenth round of 2020 MotoGP meant that the series ventured north through Europe and to the legendary Le Mans circuit with its customary test of hard braking and acceleration. The visit to France took place without the usual busy and noisy atmosphere provided by the French fans but offered a tricky challenge to the riders thanks to the colder conditions and overcast skies.

Friday was wet and damp and Saturday was sunny and chilly. Romano Fenati was able to use his FR 250 GP to good effect on both days. The Italian was 2nd fastest through the rain and mixed with the front runners in contention for Pole Position on Saturday, ending up 9th on the grid, only three tenths of a second away from the front row. Alonso Lopez had a slightly tougher time getting acclimatised to the demands of Le Mans and set-off from 23rd place for the 22 laps on Sunday.

When the red light vanished Fenati lost ground off the line but soon made up positions to latch onto the fringe of the top ten. Lopez made a fantastic start and attacked the field in the opening laps to make his way up to the rear wheel of his teammate. Both riders were circulating 10th and 11th and as part of the crowded lead group.

Entering Turn 13 with 12 laps to go Lopez misjudged his braking point and clipped Fenati’s FR 250 GP. The contact caused both riders to hit the gravel and were counted out. The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team and Husqvarna Motorcycles will now face two more back-to-back events with a double header at MotorLand Aragon in Spain.

Romano Fenati: “Not much luck! The bike was really good and so was my feeling but in the end we didn’t finish. For sure Alonso was braking too late but this can happen. We’ll look ahead to the next race.”

Alonso Lopez: “I’m disappointed about the race. I touched Romano and that was it. I’m sorry to him and for the team. On the positive side we are improving a lot and we are getting faster and faster. It wasn’t a good day but we will try to be better in MotorLand.”

Max Biaggi, Team Principal: “We didn’t start the GP badly and we had chances for good results for both riders. Romano, especially, had confidence here but it was a big shame that Alonso’s mistake ended the day for both of them. We need to turn the page and start again in Aragon. We have to think of the positives: which were having two riders virtually in the top ten and with the potential for even better results.”

Results – 2020 Moto3 FIM World Championship, Round 10

1. Celestino Vietti (KTM) 37:37.384, 2. Tony Arbolino (Honda) +0.142, 3. Albert Arenas (KTM) +0.198, DNF. Alonso Lopez (Husqvarna), DNF. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna)

Championship standings – After round 10

1. Albert Arenas (KTM) 135pts; 2. Ai Ogura (Honda) 129pts; 3. Celestino Vietti (KTM) 119pts; 12. Romano Fenati (Husqvarna) 57; 22. Alonso Lopez (Husqvarna) 16