Motorcycle Racing News MotoGP Le Mans: Pre-Event Sunday Guide

MotoGP Le Mans: Pre-Event Sunday Guide


• Valentino Rossi starts from pole for the first time since the Malaysian GP last year. This is his first front row start at Le Mans since he was last on pole here in 2005.

• This is the 49th time that Valentino Rossi has started from pole in the premier-class. From his previous 48 premier-class poles, he has won on 33 occasions and has only failed to finish on the podium five times.

• Jorge Lorenzo won at Le Mans last year by more than 17 seconds, after qualifying in second place on the grid. Following his victory in Spain, Jorge Lorenzo will be aiming to take back-to-back MotoGP wins for the first time in his career.

• If a Yamaha rider wins the MotoGP race at Le Mans it will be the first time since 1980 that Yamaha have won the first three premier-class races of the year.

• In third place on the grid is Dani Pedrosa, who is scheduled to become the youngest rider to reach the milestone of 150 Grand Prix starts.

• Casey Stoner has failed to qualify on the front row for the first time since he was 4th on the grid at the Malaysian GP last year, a race he went on to win.

• Fifth place on the grid is Nicky Hayden, who will be aiming to improve on his previous best result at Le Mans which was a 5th place finish in 2006.

• Le Mans is one of just three circuits on this year’s calendar (that have been used previously) where Ducati have not had a MotoGP win, along with Indianapolis and Estoril.

• Randy de Puniet’s 9th place in 2008 is his only top ten finish in the MotoGP class at Le Mans. De Puniet has been the top qualifier among the non-factory riders at all three races so far in 2010.

• Aleix Espargaro is in tenth place on the grid, which is his best qualifying result since he moved up to the MotoGP class. Espargaro has out-qualified all the other rookies on the MotoGP grid for the first time.


• Kenny Noyes starts from pole in only his third Grand Prix start. This is the first pole by a rider from the USA in the intermediate class of Grand Prix racing since John Kocinski was fastest qualifier at the Australian Grand Prix in 1990.

• The top twenty-seven riders on the grid have qualified within one second of the pole position time.

• Second on the grid is Yuki Takahashi, who took his first Grand Prix victory in the 250cc race at the Le Mans circuit in 2006.

• Alex Debon took his first ever GP victory in 2008 at Le Mans, in his 112th Grand Prix appearance at the age of 32.

• Jules Cluzel, who has not previously finished his home Grand Prix, will be aiming to join an elite group of French riders who have won a GP race at the Le Mans circuit. The others to have achieved this are: Jean Aureal (1969), Guy Bertin (1979) and Mike di Meglio (2008) all in the 125cc class, and Patrick Fernandez (1979) in the 350cc class.

• Fifth fastest qualifier, Fonsi Nieto, is starting from his best grid position since he was second on the grid at the Czech GP in 2004.

• Sixth on the grid is Sergio Gadea, whose win in the 125cc race at Le Mans in 2007 was his first ever Grand Prix victory.

125cc GP

• Spanish riders have won the last twelve Grand Prix races in the 125cc class.

• Championship leader Nico Terol starts from pole for the first time in his Grand Prix career. Terol finished 9th last year in treacherous conditions at Le Mans after crashing and re-starting twice.

• Pol Espargaro starts from second place on the grid for the third successive race.

• Sandro Cortese starts from his best grid position since he was second fastest qualifier at the Indianapolis Grand Prix last year. Cortese is the first non-Spanish rider to qualify on the front row in the 125cc class this year.

• Marc Marquez has not managed to finish a race at Le Mans, having crashed out in his previous two starts at the circuit.

• Fifth place on the grid for Bradley Smith is his best qualifying result so far in 2010. Smith scored his first ever GP podium at Le Mans in 2007, finishing in 3rd place

• Eighth place on the grid, Danny Webb, is making his 50th Grand Prix start.

• Aprilia have scored 275 Grand Prix victories across all classes, which equals the number of GP wins achieved by MV Agusta. A victory for an Aprilia rider at Le Mans will make them the most successful non-Japanese manufacture of all-time in terms of GP wins.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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