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MotoGP Le Mans: A Legacy of Weather

Le Mans Weather

This weekend the MotoGP motorcycle racing teams visits Le Mans for the 23rd time. Part of the French circuit’s rich heritage (which has contributed to its somewhat infamous allure) is its unpredictability when it comes to weather. The French racing round has come under the wet weather flag to flag rule the last three years.

In 2007 a light shower in the early laps of the event brought out the flag, allowing riders to change to bikes fitted with rain tires. The light sprinkles turned to heavy rain, forcing bike changes for the entire field.

The following year, in 2008, the wet weather flag came out at the midway point. The only rider that came in to switch bikes however was Marco Melandri (Stoner made the switch but it was for mechanical reasons).

In 2009 the Le Mans race was the exact opposite of the 2007 event. It started wet and gradually dried out during the course of the race, forcing an interesting strategy of when teams decide to pull their riders in.

Overall, Valentino Rossi is the all-time premier class winner at Le Mans with 3 followed by a list of retired racing legends with 2 and other (active & non-active) riders with 1. Current points leader and teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, has 1 win but with fewer tries than Rossi.

The rain wreaks havoc with teams, riders and crew chiefs as they try to outsmart the weather gods, prompting decisions, which can prove either brilliant or disastrous.

The one constant; everyone has to deal with the same conditions.

All-Time: MotoGP/500cc Le Mans – Number of Wins

  3 Rossi, Valentino ITALY
  2 Doohan, Mick AUSTRALIA
  2 Schwantz, Kevin UNITED STATES
  2 Spencer, Freddie UNITED STATES
  2 Gibernau, Sete SPAIN
  2 Sheene, Barry GREAT BRITAIN
  2 Agostini, Giacomo ITALY
  1 Lorenzo, Jorge SPAIN
  1 Lawson, Eddie UNITED STATES
  1 Vermeulen, Chris AUSTRALIA
  1 Mamola, Randy UNITED STATES
  1 Melandri, Marco ITALY
  1 Biaggi, Max ITALY
  1 Criville, Alex SPAIN

2010 Le Mans Rider Entry List (r=Rookie)

  4 Andrea
DOVIZIOSO
ITA Repsol
Honda Team
Honda
  5 Colin
EDWARDS
USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
r 7 Hiroshi
AOYAMA
JPN Interwetten
Honda MotoGP
Honda
r 11 Ben SPIES USA Monster
Yamaha Tech 3
Yamaha
  14 Randy DE
PUNIET
FRA LCR Honda
MotoGP
Honda
r 19 Alvaro
BAUTISTA
SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki
  26 Dani
PEDROSA
SPA Repsol Honda
Team
Honda
  27 Casey
STONER
AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati
  33 Marco
MELANDRI
ITA San Carlo
Honda Gresini
Honda
  36 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac
Racing Team
Ducati
r 40 Hector
BARBERA
SPA Paginas
Amarillas Aspar
Ducati
r 41 Aleix
ESPARGARO
SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati
  46 Valentino
ROSSI
ITA Fiat Yamaha
Team
Yamaha
r 58 Marco
SIMONCELLI
ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda
  65 Loris
CAPIROSSI
ITA Rizla Suzuki
MotoGP
Suzuki
  69 Nicky
HAYDEN
USA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati
  99 Jorge
LORENZO
SPA Fiat Yamaha
Team
Yamaha
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