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Costly Penalty at Le Mans: Enea Bastianini’s Victory Hopes Dashed by Long Lap

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Did a lengthy penalty lap hinder Enea Bastianini's opportunity to win at the Le Mans MotoGP?

Enea Bastianini faced a greater time loss than the 2.2 seconds he trailed behind Jorge Martin at the conclusion of the French MotoGP due to a long lap penalty.

Enea Bastianini faced a setback of 2.619 seconds from his prior lap time after completing a long lap penalty in Sunday's French MotoGP race.

However, he crossed the finish line just 2.206 seconds after race champion Jorge Martin, securing fourth place.

It's not a guarantee that he would have replicated his 2022 Le Mans win, but Bastianini would have definitely been contending for a spot on the podium alongside Martin, Marc Marquez, and Francesco Bagnaia.

The expensive infraction took place as Bastianini, who started in the tenth spot, bypassed the Turn 9 chicane in a tight maneuver to overtake Aleix Espargaro for fifth position, during the 12th lap out of 27.

The rider from Italy admitted to taai-allcreator.com">king a shortcut but when he checked for Espargaro's position, aiming to possibly return the spot, he noticed that the Aprilia competitor had to veer off into an escape route due to the maneuver.

Significantly, Bastianini accelerated again and was accordingly sanctioned by the FIM Stewards for not being “at least 1 second slower in that sector” compared to his average time.

"Clearly, today didn't bring me complete joy since I feel I could have achieved much more, leaving me somewhat disheartened," Bastianini expressed. "We possessed the pace needed this weekend, yet certain things didn't fall in our favor, and without a doubt, that extended-lap penalty significantly set us back."

The entire incident occurred because I hurried to overtake Aleix upon noticing that the front-runners were beginning to increase their pace. I didn't make any strategic calculations; I just spotted an opportunity and went for it.

The issue is, similar to previous instances, I find it challenging to halt the bike while it's in an upright position, leading me to veer off course.

"I was prepared to return the position, but observing him go off course made it unfeasible. Regardless, I did not anticipate receiving a long-lap penalty."

Bastianini's extended circuit detour dropped him down three positions, yet he recorded the quickest lap time of the contest while making his way back up the field. This effort peaked with an overtaking move on Maverick Vinales, securing the fourth spot just one lap before the race concluded.

Bastianini, who is under significant pressure to retain his spot with the official Ducati team due to competition from championship frontrunner Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez, has now matched Marquez in the world championship standings, occupying the third position. He is merely two points shy of his team-mate and the current title-holder, Francesco Bagnaia.

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