The third round of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship will see Rizla Suzuki riders Loris Capirossi and Álvaro Bautista competing at the famous Le Mans circuit in France this weekend.
Following the floodlit extravaganza of Qatar and the hedonistic atmosphere of Jerez, the MotoGP cavalcade now heads to one of the most heritage-laden tracks on any motor-racing calendar.
The 4,185m Bugatti circuit that is used for MotoGP was completed in 1966 and uses a part of the world-famous Circuit de la Sarthe that has hosted the 24-hour race since 1923.
The twisty layout of the circuit is in complete contrast to an incredibly fast first turn that is taken almost flat-out in top-gear.
The French GP is always a colourful and lively affair with as many events happening off-track as there are on.
Capirossi and Bautista have both had limited success at Le Mans and will be looking to make amends for that this weekend.
Capirossi was on the podium at the French circuit in 2006 and has never finished outside the top 10 in a completed race there.
Bautista has never scored a podium finish at Le Mans – the only track on the calendar that he has raced at where he has failed to achieve such a feat.
Bautista will hopefully be fit enough to race at Le Mans on Sunday despite breaking his clavicle bone in a training accident last week.
He underwent a successful hour-long operation and his surgeons have given him the all-clear to compete in France.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday 21st May for the first free practice session of the weekend. This will be followed by a second session on Saturday morning, with an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 28-lap race will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
Loris Capirossi says: "I really need to get on track again as it seems like the season is yet to get going, it’s amazing to think we’re almost in June and we’ve only done two races! With such little action it is difficult to judge where we are at the moment, but the one-day test after the last race in Jerez was very good for us and we made some positive steps."
"Le Mans is always a gamble because you never know what weather to expect – we have heard it should be good but you can’t always guarantee that so we will need to be ready for anything. On thing is for sure, I am ready to get back to work and excited about the prospects we have ahead – and I hope Alvaro is ready to ride, he is improving all the time and we need two strong riders."
Álvaro Bautista says: "It seems like it has been a long time between the Jerez race and now and I want to get going again. Unfortunately for me I had a small accident last week and broke a bone in my shoulder. It has been repaired and although it is quite painful I am totally focused on the weekend ahead. Le Mans is not one of my favourite tracks and it is the only one that I have not had a podium at, so it would be great to change that as soon as possible!"
"I was on pole there in 2009, but only finished fourth, so I need to try and break that record. I was 10th at Jerez and although I was top rookie I still want to do better. I didn’t get a very good start in Spain and I have to work on that, I did some practice in the test so I hope I will be able to improve in time for the race. Anyway, these are details – the most important thing is just to ride the bike, I will do my best"