Ducati Marlboro Ready for Le Mans

MotoGP Le Mans

Ducati Marlboro riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden are hoping for positive results this weekend in Le Mans, the third of 18 MotoGP rounds.

The historic Bugatti circuit in Le Mans has been quite difficult for Ducati, with the Italian motorcycle manufacturer getting on the podium only twice, Stoner in 2007 and Capirossi in 2006. But with the newly refined Ducati GP10, the Ducati Team has more optimism going into the weekend than they did during their MotoGP 2009 season.

These results are needed for Stoner, who DNF’d after starting from pole at Qatar, and finished fifth at Jerez, the first time the Australian was ever beaten by a teammate; Hayden finished in fourth at Jerez.

Casey Stoner says; "Because of the "stop and go" nature of the circuit at Le Mans you need a bike that is very stable on the brakes but also agile and quick in corner exit, especially in the slow sections. In the past we have usually managed to be fast and run at the front but we’ve never come away with the results that we would have liked. This year I think we can have higher expectations than the past two seasons there and we will certainly give our best to meet them."

As for Hayden, he just missed the podium with fourth-place finishes at Qatar and Jerez, but said he’s confident about this season. His best finish at Le Mans was fifth in 2006, the same year he won the championship while with Repsol Honda.

Nicky Hayden says: "Le Mans is probably the most difficult circuit on the calendar for me because I think it is the only place I’ve never been on the podium or the front row at, so it will be interesting to see how we go this year. As I have said a few times we have made a good start to the season and put two good races together but we have to keep our feet on the ground and keep working because our objective is to consistently perform at a high level and close the gap even further to those front guys. The last couple of tenths are definitely the hardest to find but I feel comfortable with the bike and the team, I’m enjoying myself and I feel confident about the rest of the season."

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager, says "We have never produced amazing results at Le Mans but this year I am expecting a good race from both our riders – partly because for various reasons in the past we probably haven’t capitalized on our potential there and also because we are more competitive in general now. Casey and Nicky are in great shape and the GP10, with its more linear power curve, will put less stress on the tires at this track and should also be easier for the riders to handle around this track."

According to a Ducati press release

Located in the Sarthe region, a couple of hours’ drive from the capital city of Paris, Le Mans is renowned for the 24 Hour automobile race.

The Bugatti circuit, which is very different to the actual 24 Hour circuit, plays host to the MotoGP race, having returned to the calendar back in 1999. Considered a "stop and go" circuit, Le Mans is riddled with slow corners but also features one of the fastest on the calendar, which comes at the end of the start-finish straight.

A host of hairpins and chicanes call for balance and control under repeated heavy braking as well as corner speed and good acceleration on exit. With nine right-hand corners and only four left-handers the track is also a major test for tires.

MotoGP Standings after Round 2:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 45
2. Valentino Rossi, 41
3. Dani Pedrosa, 29
4. Andrea Dovizioso, 26
5. Nicky Hayden, 26
6. Randy de Puniet, 17
7. Colin Edwards, 12
8. Casey Stoner, 11
9. Ben Spies, 11
10. Marco Melandri, 11
11. Marco Simocelli, 10
12. Mika Kallio, 9
13. Hiroshi Aoyama, 8
14. Loris Capirossi, 7
15. Hector Barbera, 7
16. Alvaro Bautista, 6
17. Aleix Espargaro 1