Honda’s factory pairing of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso arrive at round four in a confident mood, following the former’s surge in form at the last two races.
Pedrosa is still fighting back from injury following winter crashes and surgeries, but his excellent efforts at Motegi and Jerez saw him cause a surprise with back to back podiums, giving motivation to Dovizioso as the two riders simultaneously try to improve the RC212V Honda race package.
Le Mans offers a different challenge to the tracks visited in the opening three rounds characterised by a ‘stop-and-go’ style of racing following a rapid first corner, but Pedrosa has a good record at the French track having taken victory there for three years consecutively in the smaller classes from 2003 to 2005.
He also has MotoGP Le Mans pole positions and a French podium to his name and after recently overcoming his preseason disappointments he now wants to start regularly fighting for victories.
Dani Pedrosa Speaks…
"After the Jerez race I’m quite happy to be going to Le Mans because this is another circuit I like and I hope we can go well there again," Pedrosa stated. "It’s a track where the weather is often quite unstable and this means we usually have a busy weekend because we have to be prepared to set the bike up for a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures."
On the recent change to the MotoGP regulations, reverting to one hour practice sessions the Spaniard continued, "We have 15 minutes more practice time in each session which should help us with set up, and it’ll be interesting to see how our allocation of 20 tyres copes with the extra time too. Some of our rivals’ machines usually perform well at Le Mans so we need to be really focused on getting our bike to work well here. Personally, I’ve had some good results at Le Mans including victories in 125 and 250, so it’s a circuit where I have quite a lot of confidence and I hope to convert that into a good result this weekend."
Dovizioso will also be targeting the podium at a track that has brought him significant success in the past. The Italian won the 125cc race there in 2004 as part of a five-year podium streak which began in 2003 in the 125cc class and included three 250cc podiums.
Dovizioso has already displayed his trademark consistency this season and lies fifth in the World Championship standings after three rounds with his new team.
Andrea Dovizioso Speaks…
"I always look forward to racing in Le Mans and I’m determined to work really hard this weekend," he commented. "I know that I have to improve and we also need to focus on getting the best out of our machine package. Dani’s recent results in Japan and Spain have given me extra motivation because he’s shown what the bike is capable of."
"I have always had good results at this track so I’m hoping I can repeat those. The circuit is quite slow and narrow, and it has a lot of changes of direction – it’s a technical track. The changes to the first chicane have robbed Le Mans of part of its fascination, which is unfortunate, but it’s still a circuit I like. The only issue here is the weather, because it rains quite often and we’ve already had enough rain this year!"