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

 3Rossi, ValentinoITALY
 2Doohan, MickAUSTRALIA
 2Schwantz, KevinUNITED STATES
 2Spencer, FreddieUNITED STATES
 2Gibernau, SeteSPAIN
 2Sheene, BarryGREAT BRITAIN
 2Agostini, GiacomoITALY
 1Lorenzo, JorgeSPAIN
 1Lawson, EddieUNITED STATES
 1Vermeulen, ChrisAUSTRALIA
 1Mamola, RandyUNITED STATES
 1Melandri, MarcoITALY
 1Biaggi, MaxITALY
 1Criville, AlexSPAIN

2010 Le Mans Rider Entry List (r=Rookie)

 4Andrea

DOVIZIOSO
ITARepsol

Honda Team
Honda
 5Colin

EDWARDS
USAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha
r 7Hiroshi

AOYAMA
JPNInterwetten

Honda MotoGP
Honda
r 11Ben SPIESUSAMonster

Yamaha Tech 3
Yamaha
 14Randy DE

PUNIET
FRALCR Honda

MotoGP
Honda
r 19Alvaro

BAUTISTA
SPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki
 26Dani

PEDROSA
SPARepsol Honda

Team
Honda
 27Casey

STONER
AUSDucati Marlboro TeamDucati
 33Marco

MELANDRI
ITASan Carlo

Honda Gresini
Honda
 36Mika KALLIOFINPramac

Racing Team
Ducati
r 40Hector

BARBERA
SPAPaginas

Amarillas Aspar
Ducati
r 41Aleix

ESPARGARO
SPAPramac Racing TeamDucati
 46Valentino

ROSSI
ITAFiat Yamaha

Team
Yamaha
r 58Marco

SIMONCELLI
ITASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda
 65Loris

CAPIROSSI
ITARizla Suzuki

MotoGP
Suzuki
 69Nicky

HAYDEN
USADucati Marlboro TeamDucati
 99Jorge

LORENZO
SPAFiat Yamaha

Team
Yamaha