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MotoGP Burnt Rubber: 2016 Round 5 - France Roundup

We had two very good races this weekend, and a bunch of dominoes in the main event. Let's pull it apart.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

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Championship standings after round five (c/o

1 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 90
2 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 85
3 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 78
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 53
5 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki SPA 49
6 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha SPA 47
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki SPA 42
8 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 39
9 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati IRL 33
10 Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 25

Post-race rubber

You knew from the very start that Jorge Lorenzo was winning that race, you just didn't know how easy he'd have it.

That is entirely down to the insanity of Andrea Iannone. Look, he's a very fast rider, and a good racer, but if you can't keep the damn bike on the black stuff then you aren't going to have a job. When your team has just signed the reigning world champion and there's a fight on for the second ride, do not fall off on a regular basis. He had the pace to cause Jorge problems yesterday, but as has become the norm, he can't control it.

He's pretty fortunate that the case for the second ride isn't an open or shut one, because poor old Andrea Dovizioso is just having the worst season. If he's not falling off himself, he's being barged off by someone else. When he's keeping it on the track, his bike is giving up on him. BT were talking about the possibility of Danilo Petrucci taking the second factory ride next year, and it might be a very good shout.

Speaking of which, a seventh place finish with a hand the size of a rugby ball is damn impressive. He was quick last year and in his first race of 2016, injury and all, he proved it wasn't a flash in the pan. He could well be favourite for that Ducati spot.

The top two Ducatis in the championship aren't the factory bikes - they aren't even the satellite team. Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty are leading the Ducati charge, and with the utmost respect to both, that shouldn't be the case. Sort yourselves out, Andreas.

Back to Dovi, his crash was one of the weirdest things I've ever seen. Both Dovi and Marc Marquez crash at exactly the same time in exactly the same way, about ten metres apart. Nothing obviously wrong with tyre or track, just both having random crashes. Weird.

We shouldn't ignore how quick Jorge was, because even if Iannone had been able to keep it on track, it's often one job to catch Lorenzo, and another to get past him. When he's on, he wins, and boy was he on this weekend.

There was a silly amount of crashes over the course of the race, with no real reason to any of them. Bradley Smith has a theory that it might be down to increasing tyre pressures on warming circuits, but it's nothing concrete.

Valentino Rossi was a lonely second in the end, but it's another 20 points.

Last but not least, GET IN THERE MAVERICK! Suzuki's first podium since Loris Capirossi's third place at Brno in 2008 probably couldn't have come at a worse time for Viñales, who has a tough decision to make, but it was delightful to see. How he managed to make it to the end is a mystery, though. Look at this.

Weekend News Digest

Regarding that tough decision, Maverick says the strong finish won't affect his final decision on whether to stay at Suzuki or move to Yamaha. That sort of statement suggests he's going to Yamaha, but who knows. There were strong rumours in the Spanish press over the weekend that it would be Dani Pedrosa on the second Yamaha next year, but nothing has come of them.

Nothing else really came out of the weekend, except a contract extension for the circuit itself. Le Mans stays until 2021 at least.


Championship standings after round five

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Alex RINS Kalex SPA 87
2 Sam LOWES Kalex GBR 82
3 Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 69
4 Johann ZARCO Kalex FRA 56
5 Jonas FOLGER Kalex GER 47
6 Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 46
7 Dominique AEGERTER Kalex SWI 46
8 Luis SALOM Kalex SPA 37
9 Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 37
10 Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 36

Post-race rubber

Alex Rins never looked like losing, but Simone Corsi made a good go of chasing him. It was an interesting game of chess. Once Rins got past Tom Luthi you always felt that was it, but Corsi kept him honest. He has very much taken up Sam Lowes' job of somehow making the Speed Up work.

As for Lowes, it was a damage limitation job for the Brit. He was helped by a couple of fallers, but he could have done a lot worse than his sixth, which keeps him just five points behind Rins.

Lorenzo Baldassarri is Moto2's Dovi. Stay on the black stuff lad.


Championship standings after round five

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
2 Jorge NAVARRO Honda SPA 78
3 Romano FENATI KTM ITA 67
4 Nicolo BULEGA KTM ITA 47
5 Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda ITA 39
6 Francesco BAGNAIA Mahindra ITA 38
7 Jakub KORNFEIL Honda CZE 36
9 Khairul Idham PAWI Honda MAL 29
10 Enea BASTIANINI Honda ITA 29

Post-race rubber

Now this was a proper race. Any of the eventual top four could have won it, and in truth Romano Fenati probably should have done. Brad Binder is the man, though. He's not afraid of impossible gaps and improbably lunges - he almost thrives on them.

While he's definitely the man to beat this year, it's not in the same way that Danny Kent was the man last year. He's having to battle for his wins (see Jerez) but he's winning the battles - or at least winning the right ones. He's not doing anything stupid, it's all measured, and he's going to take some stopping.

As a polar opposite, that Leopard chassis does not like the KTM engine one bit.

Ride of the day

Aron Canet. In only his fifth ride in the class, he was very close to winning it. He was also very close to wiping out his team mate, and I thought he was going to, but it showed a great level of maturity for him not to. He could be this year's Fabio Quartararo.

Next time out

It's Mugello, which is a stunner of a track. That's on May 22nd, so we'll bring you the preview beforehand.