Daniel Holgado held off Ayumu Sasaki to score victory in the French Grand Prix Moto3 encounter, the Tech 3 KTM racer taking the chequered flag just 0.150s clear.

Holgado made his intentions clear right from the off as he made a move past pole-man Sasaki on the opening lap to secure the lead, fending off the Japanese ace across the early stages as he looked to run the race at his own rhythm.

Sasaki eventually relented and elected to sit in behind the Spaniard across the bulk of the contest, Holgado leading every lap until he finally attempted to make a break with just a few tours remaining, his strategy looking to be working as he opened up a near half-second lead over Leopard Racing’s Jaume Masia.

Seeing victory slipping away for the second consecutive time at Le Mans, Sasaki retook second and managed to knuckle down and close the gap to the leader, also bringing Masia and Ivan Ortola – who scored victory in the past two races prior to this weekend – to the party.

The leading duo were left to battle it out for themselves on the final lap after Masia suffered a moment on the exit of Turn 7 to drop he and Ortola further back, though Holgado ultimately had enough to just remain clear of an attack from Sasaki to take the chequered flag for his second win of the year – extending his series lead as a result.

Sasaki was thus forced to settle for the runners-up result for the second straight year in France, while Masia narrowly held off Ortola to complete the rostrum positions.

GasGas’ Ryusei Yamanaka did well to move clear of both Ajo’s Deniz Oncu and CFMoto’s Xavier Artigas for fifth on the very final tour, while David Alonso was a distant eighth having been unable to match the pace of the lead pack throughout.

Jose Antonio Rueda claimed ninth on the sister Ajo entry, while Stefano Nepa completed the top ten on the other Angeluss machine.

Romano Fenati again struggled for pace as he ended up taking the chequered flag a lowly 19th following a poor start from ninth, while countryman Andrea Migno also went down while running within the top ten in the early stages.

It was a also a tough day at the office for the MT Helmets operation after both its riders also crashed out, with Syarifuddin Azman going down at Turn 13 having run just outside the top ten early on while Diogo Moreira fell victim to the same bend as he was running with the leaders mid-way through the encounter.

Moreira’s error now means that he drops behind Ortola and Masia in the points having entered the weekend second overall behind Holgado, with the former duo now tied on points but 21 adrift of the series lead.  

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