Le Mans MotoGP | Pedrosa Leads Marquez & Rossi in FP2

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa

2013 Le Mans MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results

The Repsol Honda rider who holds three records at the iconic Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix Circuit, Dani Pedrosa, was unstoppable during Friday’s practice sessions.

Under clear skies, the Spaniard opened the day around the 2.597-mile track by leading the first free practice ahead of the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

He managed a quickest lap of 1:34.645 in FP1. But with the threat of rain looming ahead of the second and final free practice of the day, Pedrosa would pilot his RC213V to an even quicker time – a 1:34.035.

To put this time into perspective, here are the three records Pedrosa holds at Le Mans: Fastest Lap (1:32.647, 2008, Honda), Circuit Record (1:33.617, 2011, Honda), and Best Pole (1:32.647, 2008).

Pedrosa led FP2 ahead of teammate and current points leader Marc Marquez and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi; Marquez trailed by 0.134 of a second, Rossi by 0.138 of a second.

Since the 10 fastest riders of the first three free practice sessions automatically progress to Qualifying 2, each one was attempting to get the quick laps in while the track was dry. There is rain in Saturday’s forest, which can slow things dramatically in France.

These attempts were witnessed on the FP2 scoreboard. The top five riders were separated by only three-tenths of a second, and the top eight all beat Pedrosa’s quickest FP1 time.

Two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo trailed Rossi by a mere 0.028 of a second. Both riders have three premier-class wins each at Le Mans. Last year Lorenzo took the win, and Rossi second while competing on the Ducati.

During Fp2 Friday, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was fifth, 0.264 of a second behind Pedrosa. There was an over two-second gap between Bradl and the sixth-fastest rider, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow.

The Brit, who has a cold and suffered chatter issues all day aboard his YZR-M1, was followed by the Ducati Team duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, respectively, and the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa – GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

The Spaniard Bautista was 0.704 of a second behind Pedrosa. Rounding out the top 10 was the quickest CRT machine, the Power Electronics Aspar ART piloted by Aleix Espargaro, who was 1.010 of a second behind.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone finished 12th Friday, though he suffered a huge crash at Raccordement, the final corner at Le Mans. Fortunately he was not hurt, and able to finish the session on his number-two bike.

The MotoGP grid will return to Le Mans Saturday for the final practice sessions ahead of qualifying. For a preview of the round, click here.

2013 Le Mans MotoGP – Top FP2 Rider Quotes:

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “In today’s practice sessions it was important to test the tyres and make the most of the dry track time, because here you usually don’t have that opportunity. So I tried to stay out on track for as long as possible and gather the best information, because maybe tomorrow it will rain –and you don’t have that chance again. Luckily the weather held up and we were able to make some positive steps, which we hope to capitalize on for the race on Sunday”.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Le Mans has always been a good track for me in the other classes. I was fast today right out of the box and felt comfortable. In the first session I got a bit overwhelmed, because I could tell that the track was not allowing much space for me between the corners with this bigger bike and faster pace. I didn’t have much time to think.

“I was calmer in the afternoon and things went much better. This track is all about accelerating and then braking, although the final sector is more twisty and has some longer corners. It is only Friday, and we still have work to do. Tomorrow, if the track is dry, we will improve our times –but the forecast predicts rain. With a little luck, on Sunday we will have a dry track and be able to have a good race.”

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Today we were good in braking because we modified the settings and we tried two different settings to understand which way to follow to improve the braking, that was the main problem.

“This morning was not too bad and this afternoon especially I made the comparison one more time. I took the setting I preferred with some small modifications and the last run was very good. I could brake hard, which was the main problem in Austin and also in Jerez so it’s a good day. We try to modify also the rear for to not stress the rear tyre so much; that helped me a lot; I did my best laps with a used tyre that had more than 30 laps on.

“The practice this afternoon was good so I’m happy. We are already quite good with the setting of the bike so now we wait for the weather tomorrow. In case of rain we are more or less ready and if dry we can try something else, some small details to modify. We are very close to those in front so it’s not so bad.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We are changing the bike to improve the feeling because at the moment we have a lot of margin for improvement.

“I think we can make a big step to improve the constant pace for the race. I think if it rains tomorrow things will change completely and it will be a different story. We will have to be as always more careful and have more concentration in the wet.”

2013 Le Mans MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:

126Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda308.6km/h1’34.035
293Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda304.41’34.169-0.134 / 0.134
346Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha302.91’34.1730.138 / 0.004
499Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha305.61’34.2010.166 / 0.028
56Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda305.51’34.2990.264 / 0.098
635Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha304.51’34.5120.477 / 0.213
74Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati302.01’34.5780.543 / 0.066
869Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati298.51’34.5900.555 / 0.012
919Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda306.51’34.7390.704 / 0.149
1041Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART288.01’35.0451.010 / 0.306
1138Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha302.91’35.3621.327 / 0.317
1229Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati304.91’35.4331.398 / 0.071
1314Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART289.51’35.4471.412 / 0.014
1451Michele PIRROITAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati299.71’35.8641.829 / 0.417
158Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR289.61’35.9401.905 / 0.076
165Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki286.81’36.4492.414 / 0.509
1771Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki287.31’36.6432.608 / 0.194
1817Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART284.31’36.7592.724 / 0.116
199Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter283.11’36.7642.729 / 0.005
207Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR287.41’36.8212.786 / 0.057
2168Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART283.01’37.1043.069 / 0.283
2267Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda284.81’37.8783.843 / 0.774
2370Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM288.01’38.0233.988 / 0.145
2452Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter283.61’38.8184.783 / 0.795