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di Giannantonio’s Triumph and Bezzecchi’s Misfortune: A Tale of Two VR46 Riders at Le Mans

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Fabio di Giannantonio praises his "finest weekend" with the VR46 team, while Marco Bezzecchi departs Le Mans empty-handed due to crashes in each race.

Halfway through the French MotoGP, Fabio di Giannantonio found himself in a top-three position, trailing only the official Ducati riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin.

di Giannantonio had secured the race's second quickest lap time but was beginning to feel the heat from fellow GP23 competitor Marc Marquez.

For four laps, the Italian managed to keep Marquez at bay, but eventually had to concede to the eight-time world champion. Later, he was given a long lap penalty for bypassing the first chicane while defending his position.

In the end, the delay didn't change his final rank of sixth, with Maverick Vinales finishing five seconds in front, as di Giannantonio equaled his top performance to date as a VR46 team member.

"Absolutely thrilled, it was the most amazing weekend yet with the crew," stated di Giannantonio. "Following the warm-up, I was feeling great, the experience on the bike was top-notch.

I began the race strongly, engaging in a competitive duel with Aleix [Espargaro]. I was aware that my speed was competitive. However, towards the end, I encountered some difficulty with the rear tyre causing considerable vibration in the bike, which compelled me to increase my speed slightly.

"The rest approached from the rear, and I did my best to maintain my spot. It's unfortunate about the lengthy circuit, but I'm pleased overall. We experienced a strong race and an intense competition with Marc [Marquez]. We'll fine-tune the minor aspects and aim to compete with the top contenders in Catalunya."

Giannantonio's joy sharply differed from that of his team-mate Marco Bezzecchi. The victor of the 2022 Le Mans found himself leaving France empty-handed, having crashed during the Sprint while on course for a podium finish, and then again in the race on Sunday.

"Bezzecchi expressed regret, highlighting that a second crash was unnecessary given their strong performance. He described how he lost control at the front when accelerating, a recurring issue since the season started that requires attention."

"I believe staying with Jorge [Martin] and Pecco [Bagnaia] would have been beyond my reach, but possibly, I could have kept pace with Enea [Bastianini] and Maverick [Viñales]."

"I was in a battle with Enea when, during an attempt to overtake, there was nothing I could do to prevent the collision.

"The experience while riding was positive, with the bike lifting off the ground frequently in the beginning. However, it seems that achieving a top 5 finish might have been within reach. We'll examine all the information and give it another shot in Barcelona."

This weekend, di Giannantonio's accumulation of 13 points has propelled him past Bezzecchi into ninth place in the world championship standings.

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