MotoGP Le Mans
Valentino Rossi started from pole position in the French MotoGP and got a brilliant start to lead out of the first turn, in front of some 80,000 motorcycle-racing fans delighting in the pleasant weather.
Jorge Lorenzo has suffered lately when starting but recent work in testing paid off as the 23-year-old slipped just one place to third, before passing Dani Pedrosa back soon after to retake second.
It was not until lap twelve that the 23-year-old Lorenzo got by his teammate and began to pull away, as the nine-time World Champion struggled to find enough grip on acceleration to stay with Lorenzo.
Jorge eventually crossed the line 5.672 seconds ahead to take his first back-to-back wins in Moto GP and stand on top of the Le Mans podium for the second year running.
Dani Pedrosa says: "Well of course I’m not satisfied to have finished in this way because we were able to stay near the leaders for the first part of the race and then dropped back. Losing two places on the final lap is not a good feeling. My start was ok and I could stay near the front in the first laps but later in the race I was making a lot of mistakes trying to maintain my pace."
"I had a bit of a rear brake issue, which meant I couldn’t get the bike into the turns as I wanted and I was fighting the bike a bit. Andrea rode well and pushed very hard at the end, so congratulations to him on the podium finish. It’s an important part of the season coming up with many races in a short time, so we must work hard and do better in Mugello".
Andrea Dovizioso says: "I’m so happy to have made the podium here. It was very important because I wanted to confirm that the result in Qatar was not a one-off. We have improved a lot during the winter, so this is another important step forward. I wanted a good result for the team, to thank them and also because of last year when Dani came from 10 seconds behind to overtake me on the very last lap. Also, I’m very pleased to be going to Mugello third in the championship. It was a tough race. At the beginning I took a lot of risks to recover from starting on the third row. I made up some places and then I was able to match the leaders’ pace in the early stages."
"Once I caught Dani it was hard to get past and I knew Nicky was very close behind so I had to find a way by. Dani has really good acceleration so it was difficult to make the overtake. I waited for four laps, worked out my strategy and I made my move at on the last lap at the corner I’d planned. This is a good start to the season, we worked a lot during the winter and Honda keeps working hard. We are close to the leaders – though still not close enough because our target is to fight for wins. We’ll go to Mugello with a lot of confidence as this a special race for me".
Jorge Lorenzo says: "I am so happy to win for the second race in a row, it’s the first time for me in MotoGP and it makes me feel very confident in myself. Finally I did a good start, which I’m really happy about, then I easily got past Pedrosa. Passing Valentino wasn’t so easy because he was braking so deep and I had to be very patient, something that I might not have managed one year ago! Finally I overtook him but I didn’t expect to be able to go away in that way, my bike and Bridgestone tyres just felt so good and it wasn’t difficult for me to keep this pace up. I have had a good time in Le Mans since I joined Yamaha; one second and two victories, so I think I can say I enjoy racing here in France! It is fantastic to be leading the championship but there is a long way to go and now we go to Mugello, a track that I love but where my rivals are very strong. Thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha for this great weekend."
Valentino Rossi says: "I got a very good start but I knew from the beginning that we lacked some pace compared to Lorenzo and we had some unexpected problems in the race, mainly to do with grip on exit and acceleration from the corners. I expected to be faster but it wasn’t the case today. I tried to stay in front of Lorenzo but it wasn’t possible and I couldn’t go with him once he was past, congratulations to him because he was very strong today! I can’t blame my shoulder, I had expected it to be a bigger problem but in fact it was okay until six or seven laps from the end and by then the race was over for me. I knew it was important to finish and take the 20 points, it’s a long championship and we are only nine points behind. Now I am looking forward to being back on top form for Mugello, my home race."
Wilco Zeelenberg (Lorenzo Manager) says: "A fantastic race and result, Jorge did very well to wait like this behind Valentino and then once he passed to go away in such a way, it was brave and showed how strong he was. He was very fast all weekend but as usual our tactics were to be on the podium, so this is a great bonus. I thought, coming here, that the pressure from leading the championship might worry him but this wasn’t the case at all, he just kept his head down and this win is a fantastic reward for such good work."
Davide Brivio (Rossi Manager) says: "Valentino started very well once again in this race but then when Lorenzo arrived it was difficult to stay in front, his pace was faster today. Valentino’s bike was sliding a little bit too much and he lost some contact when Lorenzo was leading, and by then it was sensible to go for second. There’s only nine points between them and we are here and in touch in this exciting championship."
Nicky Hayden says: "I’m about as happy with fourth as you could wish to be because I’ve struggled this weekend and once the race got started I went backwards pretty quickly. I just dug in and started going a little faster. I was pushing so hard to try and get those guys and finish on the podium but I couldn’t get close enough. As we say in America ‘close only counts in horseshoes and washers’ but I know I couldn’t have ridden any harder today and the team did a great job, so my heartfelt thanks go to them. Fourth place is okay here but it won’t be good enough at Mugello so we have more work to do there. I feel sorry for Casey today and his side of the garage because I see how hard they work, he is an unbelievably fast rider and he’ll be feeling disappointed right now, but you can be sure he will bounce back, he is very strong. It’s a long season so hopefully we can both have something to smile about next time."
Casey Stoner says: "I’m really disappointed because the bike has felt great all weekend, I’ve been pushing the front wherever I wanted but for some reason when the race has come around it felt like it was going to fold. It’s something we have to get to the bottom of and we need to do it soon because it is not good to start the season with only one finish from three races. I haven’t changed anything with my riding style but if I need to do something then we have to work out what and I can do it. Maybe it’s because when I’m behind slower riders in the race I’m not able to put the same pressure on the front. I’m not sure at the moment, to be honest, so we need to sit down and work out what’s best for the next race."
Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Team Manager) says: "I’m really disappointed for Casey and for the team because this is obviously a big letdown for all of us. Today we had the possibility of having a good race, as we saw with Nicky, but it didn’t turn out that way for Casey, who crashed when he was trying to make up ground on the top three. He lost the front and now we’re all working together to try and work out why. I know that Casey will bounce back in the next race, ready to give it all as always and we’ll be working hard to allow him to show his huge talent. Nicky was great again today and that kind of result is not a surprise anymore. He had a few problems in practice but he showed great character in the race to score the best result of his career at this track."
Randy De Puniet says: "It was a special and tough GP for me because I wanted to get a good result especially for my fans. This is my best result on this track in the premier class but I am a bit disappointed. I got a bad start and dropped from the second row to the back of the group but after that I set good lap times catching the eight place. After Stoner’s crash I was seventh but could not close any further because my front tyre started to slip and almost crashed 10 times. So I had to slow down but seventh is not so bad. I am still 6th in the world standing and we are the best private team at the moment!".
Colin Edwards says: "I know this bike inside out and I’ve had some of the best races of my career at Le Mans, but right now I just can’t seem to fix some of the problems I’m having. I can only go fast if I’m able to ride comfortable and smooth and at the moment I can’t do that because I don’t have the confidence. I’m working really hard with my guys at Tech 3 but we don’t seem to be able to get on top of the problem at the moment. I spent a lot of the race behind Simoncelli and he was able to brake deeper than me. As soon as I’d brake and lean the bike over, I started to have a problem and right now I’m struggling to find an answer. It is annoying because I came here expecting a much better result but we’ll regroup and try and be much stronger at Mugello."
Ben Spies says: "It was a tough weekend and I made it tough for myself. Yesterday morning was my fault with the crash and missing a sessi on didn’t help. I need as much track time as I can get so to miss a whole hour isn’t good. I got a good start and after the first two laps I got into a decent rhythm. Capirossi and Colin started to come back to me a little bit and I was feeling quite confident. But I looked up and saw Capirossi lose the front at the third corner and as soon as I tipped in I lost the front too and I was down. It was a weird crash but luckily I didn’t pick up any further injury. Now I can take this week off and rest and go to Mugello to push at 100 per cent. It has been a rough last couple of races but I’m still confident I can be closer to the front when things are right and be doing a lot better."
Herve Poncharal (Tech 3 Team Manager) says: "It is a strong word but this has been a disaster for us because we were expecting a lot. After Friday when we saw Ben learn the track even quicker than he did in Jerez we were very positive about his prospects and we know that Le Mans is one of Colin’s best tracks. It is obvious that Ben was struggling a little bit with his foot and unfortunately he crashed in the race and I am sorry for him because he was determined to try and get in the top ten. Colin got a decent and he just never looked like the rider at this track that we know he can be. We’ll analyse a lot of data to understand why we struggled and be as determined as ever to be back where we belong in Mugello. I’d like to congratulate Yamaha because once again they did a fantastic job and now we must improve to show our true potential with what is obviously an incredibly competitive YZR-M1 machine."
Loris Capirossi says: "It has again been an unlucky end to a weekend for us! It was the best we had felt at a Grand Prix this year and we had worked very hard in practice to fix everything and we made some good, positive steps. In the race I started steadily because the grip was not too good. After a couple of laps I felt a bit better and increased my rhythm and got past Colin, but in turn three I crashed. I leaned in and just lost the front, I don’t know why it happened and this is the third time I’ve crashed on the front and we will have to discover what’s causing it. During the weekend the feeling has been good and in warm-up I didn’t have any problems, but then in the race we struggled and I crashed. I am so sorry for the whole team because they all worked so hard. I am really, really upset because I feel in such good condition and we need to be getting some good results, this is no way to end the weekend, but we now must go to Mugello and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again."
Aleix Espargaro says: "I am very happy with the outcome of the race, is by far my best result in MotoGP, and is the first time I finished the race in the top ten. I’ve had since Friday a great rhythm on this track, and I’m looking forward to race again to try to get better results. Too bad for the bad start, I lost two positions during the first lap, I could not be fast enough and I found myself second-last during the eight lap. But then I got to find my rhythm, turning a few tenths faster than the riders in front of me. I managed to cover the gap I had with the riders who preceded me and I found myself in the group that was fighting for eighth place. After a few laps I passed Aoyama and on the second-last lap I have seen the error made by Edwards and passed him as well as Simoncelli. Too bad for the little contact I had with Aoyama three corners before the finish line, this has given advantage to Barberà and I could not pass him for very little. However I have great confidence for the next race and hope to improve further."
Mika Kallio says: "The shoulder pain prevented me from being competitive, despite the painkillers they gave me an hour before the race. I felt an enormous pain that did not allow me to lead better my bike. I constantly had a second lower turning lap time compared to the other riders. From the pits my technicians have indicated me that some riders were retired and I clenched my teeth to finish the race and bring other points to my team for the season. I hope to not have any more shoulder problems for the next race and that it will be a good weekend from beginning to the end."
Hiroshi Aoyama says: "We found a much better set up and I was able to stay with the other riders. We were competitive today and I think we grew up. I think we take a lot with us after this race and I hope we can keep improving. Of course I am not really happy with the result as I lost two positions because of a small mistake I did. I could have been further in front. I was able to attack the eighth position, but I think that this target was too big and I had to step back again not to risk anything. I think we gave our best here and I will try that again in the next race."
Daniel Epp (Aoyamo Manager) says: "The whole weekend was not easy, but Hiro´s performance in the race was a big improvement regarding all practices. It is a pity that he could not reach eighth position in the race. The eighth position would have been possible, but it didn’t happen. But I am happy that he tried it at least. In the first two laps Hiro lost some time , as he had to ride careful after we changed the front tyre on the starting grid. Hiro didn’t feel grip in the warm up lap with the former tyre and we had to react quick and changed it. We were able to collect important data during this weekend and I hope we can improve even more in Mugello."
Marco Melandri says: "I was pretty sure we´d have a better pace today than we did in practice and that proved to be the case. We made a small change in the warm-up based on an idea that the team came up with and it worked well. Unfortunately it was quite windy today and I struggled in a few corners where we didn´t have a perfect setting for the engine braking. I´m happy though because we were able to match the speed of the front guys at the start until I made a small mistake when Hayden stepped up the pace. I tried to catch him again but I couldn´t do it and decided that was a good time to `pull the oars in´ and bring home an important result after such a tough start to the year. It was a good race for us and I´m happy for myself and the team."
Marco Simoncelli says: "I gave my maximum and wasn´t too far off today but it was a tough race because I was struggling more with the bike than yesterday. I´m a little disappointed that I allowed Barbera and Espargaro to pass me on the last couple of laps because it would have been nice to finish eighth but it didn´t happen. It is important at this stage for me to finish races and I managed that today even though I wasn´t as fast as I´d hoped so that´s a positive thing. Now we´ll assess things and try to do better at Mugello."
Fausto Gresini says: "It was a good day for us as a team because we´ve seen Melandri back on the pace with a good sixth place and Simoncelli finishing tenth after lapping in eighth for much of the race. It was a shame that he lost two positions in the final stages but once again he demonstrated the progress he is making. Melandri was consistent and he set a strong pace at the start, chasing the leaders, before securing an important result that moves him up the championship. We obviously have to keep working to take another step forward and try to be more competitive. There is certainly no shortage of motivation amongst the team and we are desperate to pay back Honda and San Carlo for the belief they have shown in us with some good results. "
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport) says "Congratulations to Jorge Lorenzo for not only this victory but his first consecutive pair of wins in MotoGP. The conditions today were very difficult, much more so than could be expected of Le Mans, both for riders and our tyres so this is a great achievement. We saw some good battles between Andrea, Nicky and Dani, and also in the midfield. I’d like to congratulate Hector Barbera and the Aspar team for his highest MotoGP finish in eighth as top rookie."
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre) says: "The conditions all weekend have been very challenging, and the temperature during the race was at its highest but I am pleased with the durability and consistency of both slick tyre options. The high temperature did not help laptimes and overall race time but I am pleased that consistency was good. Nicky’s fastest lap came on lap 20 of 28 whichshows good durability over race distance. Clearly our harder slick tyre options were favoured by most riders today, for the added durability of the asymmetric rear tyre, but it is encouraging to see that Aleix was able to make the soft rear work well despite the high temperature."
Circuit Record: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2008), 1’34.215 – 159.910 Km/h
Best Pole: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2008), 1’32.647 – 162.617 Km/h
Le Mans, Sunday, May 23, 2010
|SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||158.0||44’29.114|
|ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||157.7||+5.672|
|ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||157.6||+7.872|
|USA||Ducati Marlboro Team||Ducati||157.5||+9.346|
|SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||157.3||+12.613|
|ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||156.8||+21.918|
|FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||156.3||+29.288|
|SPA||Paginas Amarillas Aspar||Ducati||156.1||+33.128|
|SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||156.1||+33.493|
|ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||156.1||+33.805|
|JPN||Interwetten Honda MotoGP||Honda||156.0||+34.346|
|USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||155.9||+37.123|
|ITA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||154.8||22 Laps|
Yamaha Tech 3
|AUS||Ducati Marlboro Team||Ducati||151.7||26 Laps|