The French Moto Grand Prix has had a good ending for Andrea Dovizioso, who after a weekend's work in the background was able to collect its fruit.
In a motorcycle race that went from low to high, the Repsol Honda RC212V rider finally achieved a hard-fought podium that allows him to continue along the positive line started in Qatar. On the other side of the garage, Dani Pedrosa did not have his best end of race.
After a good weekend, two errors in the last lap when trying to up the pace to prevent his teammate Dovizioso from overtaking him, dropped him to fifth place in the end, when he had been riding in third place until the penultimate lap.
Starting third on the grid, Dani Pedrosa climbed a position when the red light went off, riding second by the end of the straight behind Valentino Rossi, the rider who clocked up the best time yesterday.
Andrea Dovizioso, who started seventh, also managed to overtake a rival over the first few metres, although just a turn later, both had lost a position. Pedrosa was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo before he finished the first lap, dropping into third, and his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was back in seventh.
In the following laps, Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa edged away from the pack, which split after Casey Stoner fell in the third lap.
At this time, Andrea Dovizioso -who had overtaken Melandri - overtook Hayden and set off in pursuit of his team-mate, who was wheel to wheel with Lorenzo until mid-race, when Lorenzo over took Valentino Rossi and the group was definitively split.
As the laps passed, Pedrosa started to lose ground compared to the lead and Dovizioso closed in on him tenth by tenth, with Hayden very alert a second behind the Italian.
In the last lap, the battle between the Repsol Honda Team riders reached its most crucial moment. Dovizioso overtook Pedrosa at the start of the last lap and the Spaniard, trying to retake third place, ended up braking too hard, allowing Hayden to overtake him. In the end, third place for Andrea Dovizioso and fifth for Dani Pedrosa.
With this result, the Italian is now third in the overall standings with 42 points and the Spaniard is fourth with 40, both behind Lorenzo, who won the Le Mans race and leads the World Championship, and Rossi.
Andrea DOVIZIOSO (3rd 7.872 seconds behind) says: "Once I caught Dani it was hard to get past and I knew Nicky was very close behind so I had to find a way by. Dani has really good acceleration so it was difficult to make the overtake. I waited for four laps, worked out my strategy and I made my move at on the last lap at the corner I'd planned."
"This is a good start to the season, we worked a lot during the winter and Honda keeps working hard. We are close to the leaders - though still not close enough because our target is to fight for wins. We'll go to Mugello with a lot of confidence as this a special race for me".
Dani PEDROSA (5th 12.613 seconds behind) says: "Well of course I'm not satisfied to have finished in this way because we were able to stay near the leaders for the first part of the race and then dropped back. Losing two places on the final lap is not a good feeling".
MotoGP Le Mans Results
1. (99) Jorge LORENZO, SPA, Fiat Yamaha, 44:29.114 (158.0 km/4)
2. (46) Valentino ROSSI, ITA, Fiat Yamaha, +5.672
3. (4) Andrea DOVIZIOSO, ITA, Repsol Honda Team, +7.872
4. (69) Nicky HAYDEN, USA, Ducati Marlboro Team, +9.346
5. (26) Dani PEDROSA, SPA, Repsol Honda Team, +12.613
1. Jorge LORENZO, 70
2. Valentino ROSSI, 61
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, 42
4. Dani PEDROSA, 40
5. Nicky HAYDEN, 39