2014 Le Mans MotoGP Press Conference
The French Grand Prix got underway Thursday with the traditional press conference. Speaking before the international press at Le Mans were the current MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro and local rider Mike Di Meglio (Avinta Racing).
The 21-year-old Spaniard Marquez has been on a complete tear so far in 2014 MotoGP. He won the opening four rounds from the pole, and recently renewed his contract with Honda Racing Corporation through 2016.
The Repsol Honda RC213V pilot says “I’m really happy about the situation and the new contract with Honda, it was an important step to take. I feel good with the team and they feel good with me. It’s a dream come true and I want to say thanks to them.”
Marquez then discussed the challenges he faces at Le Mans: “My level here is usually good. I got pole position here last season and the weather looks better this time. I have had an incredible start with four poles and wins, but I know some day a race will come when victory is not possible, when another rider is stronger, so then you need to be clever and finish second or third.”
Rossi was next to speak, commenting on his performances in the opening rounds.
“I’m also happy about the start of the championship with two podiums and two second places. Unfortunately it has not been possible to beat Marc but I’m pleased with my speed, my level and my feeling with the bike. I’m working well with my team,” Rossi says.
Rossi was then questioned about his remaining in MotoGP beyond 2014: “My project is to make another contract for two seasons and I think in the next weeks, during the next races we will talk with Yamaha in order to continue.”
As for Dovizioso, the Italian is the top Ducati pilot in point standings. He is currently fourth, and placed the GP14 on the podium at Circuit of the Americas.
“I’m happy with the result last time from Jerez. We were fifth but the important thing was to close the gap to the front riders and that’s what we’ve done,” Dovi says. “We tested at Mugello this week which was positive apart from a crash at the end of the day, though it’s better to crash in testing than in an important moment!”
As for Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo had a tough start to the season, and is fifth in the points battle after four of 18 rounds.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position and although my gap to the front is not too far, the results have not been what we wanted. Historically Le Mans is a good track for Yamaha, especially from to 2008 to 2010, when we were really strong,” Lorenzo says.
He also commented on his plans for the future with Yamaha: “My priority is to stay at Yamaha and I would like to stay with the team until the end of my career. But I am focused on working at the track and my manager works on talking to the team about the future.”
Le Mans is a home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and its rookie Pol Espargaro is ready for the challenge: “I think I’m doing well and going in the right direction so I need to keep improving. I’m learning a lot.”
He then commented on his brother, NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro: “It is a bit different with him now that we are racing together, as he is pushing me a lot! But I’ve been surprised by how good he has been this season.”
As for Mike Di Meglio, the rookie is ready to ride before his home crowd: “MotoGP is exciting but it is difficult, it is all new for me, and we knew it would be hard before we came into it.”
Reflecting on his 2008 125cc win at Le Mans he joked, “It was very nice to win here because no French rider had done it for a long time, but I think it will be impossible to win again this weekend! My target is to get my first points of the year.”
Practice begins Friday morning at Le Mans. For a preview of the round, visit 2014 Le Mans MotoGP Preview.