2013 Grand Prix of France at Le Mans
The 2013 MotoGP Championship heads this weekend to Le Mans for the Grand Prix of France, round four of 18.
Leading the points race as the series gets underway in France is Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who finished third at the season opener in Qatar, won round 2 at Circuit of the Americas, and finished second at Jerez two weeks ago.
But not far behind Marquez, who has 61 points, is his teammate Dani Pedrosa. The RC213V rider Pedrosa, who won at Jerz, is three points behind Marquez.
And only a point behind Pedrosa is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who won at Qatar.
Theres three Spaniards have been the dominate riders so far this season. But much can change at Le Mans, a track that one rider has some luck at – nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. The Italian took three premier class wins there, and took two podium finishes there with Ducati, a team he clearly struggled with the past two years before rejoining Yamaha for 2013.
Following are some pre-race “numbers” ahead of Le Mans MotoGP:
2,986 – Dani Pedrosa has scored a total of 2,986 points across all three classes during his Grand prix career. A top three finish at Le Mans would make him only the third rider ever to pass the milestone of 3,000 Grand Prix points, after Valentino Rossi (with a current total of 4,604 career points) and Loris Capirossi (3,215 career points).
46 – Dani Pedrosa’s victory at Jerez was his 46th Grand Prix win across all classes, all of which have been on Honda machinery. This is one more win riding Honda machinery than six-time world champion Jim Redman achieved during his Grand Prix career. Only Mick Doohan, with 54 wins, has had more Grand Prix victories on Honda-manufactured motorcycles.
44 years – On the day of qualifying at Le Mans, it will be exactly 44 years to the day – at the 1969 French Grand Prix at Le Mans – that Jean Aureal, riding a Yamaha, became the first French rider to win a 125 Grand Prix race.
28 years – On race day at Le Mans, it will be exactly 28 years to the day that Christian Sarron won his one and only 500 Grand Prix race in a wet race at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany in 1985. This win by Sarron ended a sequence of 28 race wins by riders from the USA – the longest sequence of successive wins by one nation in the premier class.
20 years and 77 days – At the Spanish Grand Prix, Marc Marquez became – at the age of 20 years and 77 days – the youngest rider to finish on the podium at three successive premier class Grands Prix, taking the record from Jorge Lorenzo who was 20 years and 345 days old when he had his third successive podium in 2008.
11 – The last 11 races across the three classes have been won by Spanish riders. The last non-Spanish rider to win a Grand Prix was Danny Kent in the Moto3™ race at the final event of 2012 at Valencia. Spain holds the record for the longest sequence of Grand Prix victories by one nation across the three classes – set in 2010 when Spanish riders won 15 successive races.
9 – The first nine Grand Prix races of the year across the three classes have produced nine different winners. Only once before in the 65-year history of Grand Prix racing have three different riders won the first three races of the year in the equivalent of each of the three current classes. In 1951 the three race winners in each of the classes were as follows: 125 – Guido Leoni, Cromie McCandless and Gianni Leoni. 250 – Dario Ambrosini, Tommy Wood and Bruno Ruffo. 500 – Umberto Masetti, Fergus Anderson and Geoff Duke.
5 – On the day of qualifying at Le Mans, it will be exactly five years ago that Mike di Meglio won the 125 race at the 2008 French Grand Prix to become the first home rider to win at Le Mans in the 125 class since Guy Bertin in 1979.