MotoGP 2013 – Round Four – Le Mans
—  Dani Pedrosa takes victory in drama-filled wet race at Le Mans

Dani Pedrosa has become the first rider to win two races in the 2013 MotoGP™ season, coming from sixth position on the grid in mixed conditions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans. He now leads the championship from Repsol Honda Team teammate Marc Marquez, who fought to the podium after a poor start as Britain’s Cal Crutchlow finished a GP career-best second.

For the second year in succession, the field was presented with a wet track for the start of the race, with all competitors duly electing to fit the soft compound wet weather tyres for both front and rear wheels, although this resulted in an extremely difficult final laps as the tarmac dried out.

Pedrosa’s ride to a first victory at Le Mans in the premier class was a calculated but exciting one. Having crashed in qualifying, he stayed out of trouble at the start and passed Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. The Honda rider then caught Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who had fought into the lead from a front row start and continually re-passed Pedrosa whenever the latter made a mistake. The final swapping of places came at half distance.

The weekend was a memorable one for Crutchlow. On Saturday the Englishman sustained a fracture to the top of his shinbone, causing immense pain in the knee, but from fourth on the grid he made the most of the mixed conditions and stormed passed old teammate Dovizioso in the closing stages. The Ducati rider led for a chunk of the race and ultimately just missed out on a rostrum result as Marquez fought back from a poor getaway and a selection of off-track moments. The Spaniard therefore maintained his 100% podium finish record for 2013.

Nicky Hayden confirmed Ducati’s strongest day of the campaign to date by finishing fifth from GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, but it was a somewhat disastrous afternoon for Yamaha Factory Racing. Lorenzo struggled to make an impression and slid down the order to seventh with major set-up issues, whereas Valentino Rossi – who had previously battled with his teammate – fell while under pressure from Hayden. The Italian recovered to 12th behind Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, whose temporary teammate Michele Pirro rose to eighth ahead of Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl finished tenth after suffering a small fall due to issues with his visor and general visibility. Aleix Espargaro again celebrated the top CRT spot in 13th, although the Power Electronics Aspar rider had to fight past Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and took advantage of a crash for teammate and local favourite Randy de Puniet. Gresini’s Bryan Staring, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Came IodaRacing Project’s Lukas Pesek and PBM’s Yonny Hernandez also all retired, but no rider suffered injury.

MotoGP™ Race Classification
1 / Dani PEDROSA / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 49’17.707 / 142.6 /
2 / Cal CRUTCHLOW / GBR / Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 49’22.570 / 142.3 / 4.863
3 / Marc MARQUEZ / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 49’24.656 / 142.2 / 6.949
4 / Andrea DOVIZIOSO / ITA / Ducati Team / DUCATI / 49’27.794 / 142.1 / 10.087
5 / Nicky HAYDEN / USA / Ducati Team / DUCATI / 49’36.178 / 141.7 / 18.471
6 / Alvaro BAUTISTA / SPA / GO&FUN Honda Gresini / HONDA / 49’41.268 / 141.4 / 23.561
7 / Jorge LORENZO / SPA / Yamaha Factory Racing / YAMAHA / 49’45.668 / 141.2 / 27.961
8 / Michele PIRRO / ITA / Ignite Pramac Racing / DUCATI / 49’58.482 / 140.6 / 40.775
9 / Bradley SMITH / GBR / Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 49’59.114 / 140.6 / 41.407
10 / Stefan BRADL / GER / LCR Honda MotoGP / HONDA / 50’18.702 / 139.7 / 1’00.995
11 / Andrea IANNONE / ITA / Energy T.I. Pramac Racing / DUCATI / 50’22.817 / 139.5 / 1’05.110
12 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Yamaha Factory Racing / YAMAHA / 50’34.075 / 139 / 1’16.368
13 / Aleix ESPARGARO / SPA / Power Electronics Aspar / ART / 50’41.907 / 138.6 / 1’24.200
14 / Danilo PETRUCCI / ITA / Came IodaRacing Project / IODA-SUTER / 50’43.433 / 138.6 / 1’25.726
15 / Karel ABRAHAM / CZE / Cardion AB Motoracing / ART / 50’49.818 / 138.3 / 1’32.111

Pole Position: Marc MARQUEZ 1’33.187 161.6 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1’43.597 145.4 Km/h Lap 15
Circuit Record Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1’33.617 160.9 Km/h 2011
Circuit Best Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1’32.647 162.6 Km/h 2008

1 PEDROSA 83, 2 MARQUEZ 77, 3 LORENZO 66, 4 CRUTCHLOW 55, 5 ROSSI 47, 6 DOVIZIOSO 39, 7 BAUTISTA 38, 8 HAYDEN 35, 9 ESPARGARO 20, 10 IANNONE 18, 11 BRADL 17, 12 SMITH 17, 13 PIRRO 13, 14 SPIES 9, 15 BARBERA 7.

— Moto 2

Britain’s Scott Redding triumphed in Moto2™ for the first time as he won a rain-affected Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans today. It was a one-two finish for the Marc VDS Racing Team as Mika Kallio finished second, but there was disaster for numerous championship contenders who slipped out of contention.

Redding’s emotional victory makes him the first British rider to win at Le Mans since Alan Carter took the chequered flag in the 250 race of 30 years ago; his own previous career win had been in the 125 class at Donington Park in 2008. This afternoon’s success was no easy feat, as at the start the 20-year-old had plummeted to ninth position off the wetter, right-hand side of the track following heavy rain overnight.

Takaaki Nakagami led in the early stages from Pol Espargaro, with both Espargaro and championship-leading Tuenti HP 40 teammate Esteve Rabat falling in harmony at Musee corner, dropping down the order on Lap 3. Nakagami was left with a three-second advantage, but the Italtrans Racing Team man lost control at the same corner just four laps later as sprinkles of rain made for a greasy track surface.

The intermediary conditions contributed to retirements for no less than ten riders, including Mapfre Aspar Tech Moto2 pairing Jordi Torres and Nico Terol, Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi and the independently-funded Gino Rea, who had remarkably reached a high of 12th position from 31st on the grid.

A strong recovery ride from Redding saw him rise to the front on Lap 8, passing Johann Zarco who had delighted the French crowd by leading. Redding’s teammate Kallio looked to threaten as he typically grew stronger and pushed on in the second half of the race. Heavier rain towards the end threw a spanner into the works for Redding, but red flags flew on the 24th of 26 laps. As the result was declared at the end of Lap 22 (the last which all riders had completed), Kallio inherited second position despite being overtaken by Xavier Simeon before the stoppage. Nevertheless, the Belgian Desguaces La Torre Maptaq rider still achieved a first ever podium finish.

Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter and Came Iodaracing Project’s aforementioned Zarco were fourth and fifth from NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, JiR Moto2’s Mike di Meglio and Italtrans’ Julian Simon. Anthony West and Alex de Angelis completed the top ten for QMMF Racing Team and NGM Mobile Forward Racing, respectively, as reigning Moto3™ champion Sandro Cortese scored his first Moto2 points, in 13th place for Dynavolt Intact GP. In 15th, the final point was collected by Tech 3 Racing’s Frenchman Louis Rossi, who had won the Moto3™ race at Le Mans 12 months ago.

Moto2™ Race Classification
1 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 36’43.583 / 150.4 /
2 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 36’44.673 / 150.3 / 1.09
3 / Xavier SIMEON / BEL / Desguaces La Torre Maptaq / KALEX / 36’44.817 / 150.3 / 1.234
4 / Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 36’45.284 / 150.2 / 1.701
5 / Johann ZARCO / FRA / Came Iodaracing Project / SUTER / 36’45.442 / 150.2 / 1.859
6 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 36’55.855 / 149.5 / 12.272
7 / Mike DI MEGLIO / FRA / JiR Moto2 / MOTOBI / 36’55.961 / 149.5 / 12.378
8 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 37’13.295 / 148.4 / 29.712
9 / Anthony WEST / AUS / QMMF Racing Team / SPEED UP / 37’14.062 / 148.3 / 30.479
10 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / NGM Mobile Forward Racing / SPEED UP / 37’14.818 / 148.3 / 31.235
11 / Randy KRUMMENACHE / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 37’15.118 / 148.2 / 31.535
12 / Simone CORSI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 37’15.258 / 148.2 / 31.675
13 / Sandro CORTESE / GER / Dynavolt Intact GP / KALEX / 37’15.500 / 148.2 / 31.917
14 / Marcel SCHROTTER / GER / Desguaces La Torre SAG / KALEX / 37’19.361 / 148 / 35.778
15 / Louis ROSSI / FRA / Tech 3 / TECH 3 / 37’28.628 / 147.4 / 45.045

Pole Position: Takaaki NAKAGAMI 1’38.508 152.9 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Scott REDDING 1’39.117 152.0 Km/h Lap 19
Circuit Record Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’38.533 152.9 Km/h2010
Circuit Best Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’37.710 154.1 Km/h 2012

1 REDDING 76, 2 RABAT 52, 3 KALLIO 47, 4 AEGERTER 47, 5 ESPARGARO 41, 6 TEROL 38, 7 SIMEON 35, 8 NAKAGAMI 29, 9 ZARCO 28, 10 DE ANGELIS 22, 11 WEST 20, 12 PASINI 18, 13 SIMON 18, 14 TORRES 16, 15 CORSI 15.

— Moto 3

Maverick Viñales won Sunday’s Moto3™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans from pole position, thus becoming the first two-time race victor of the 2013 season. The well-judged ride saw the Team Calvo rider head up an all-Spanish podium from previous race winners Alex Rins and Luis Salom.

Rain had been forecast for the race, but ultimately no drops would fall over the course of the 24 laps. Viñales enjoyed a clean start this afternoon, but it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who – from a front row start – swept into the lead under braking for Turn 3.

It took Viñales two attempts to make the move stick, but he eventually edged back past Folger on the ninth lap. The German would soon drop to fourth place, behind Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Rins and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom, as he overshot the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez finished inside the top five for the first time since Qatar, having overtaken front row starter Miguel Oliveira who lost control of his Mahindra Racing bike and crashed at the start of Lap 4. If any lap was a winning one for Viñales, it was the penultimate, as he delivered a scorching fastest lap of the race to extend the leading advantage to just under one second.

There were several touches between bikes and no less than seven riders failed to make the finish. Kiefer Racing’s Florian Alt fell just seconds after Oliveira had departed the race while GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 duo Niccolo Antonelli and Lorenzo Baldassarri, plus Marc VDS Racing Team’s wildcard Jules Danilo, made unforced errors. The biggest moment came on Lap 21, as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin highsided at Chemin aux Boeufs while running seventh, landing across the bows of Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo and duly removing both men from the action.

The Khairuddin-Ajo incident very much shook up the running order. Jakub Kornfeil was sixth for Redox RW Racing GP as San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati and Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder were promoted to seventh and eighth places. In 15th, German Philipp Oettl fended off fellow rookie, Marc VDS’ Livio Loi, to score his first ever point for Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing.

Arthur Sissis – “The race didn’t go too well. When I left the pits to take up my spot on the grid, we were using the wet tyres, because we thought that the asphalt would still be damp. But it was already dry on some corners and the conditions were half-wet, half-dry. We used the soft setting, but a few laps in the track was fully dry and I couldn’t ride in comfort. I hope to improve for the next race.”

Moto3™ Race Classification
1 / Maverick VIÑALES / SPA / Team Calvo / KTM / 42’05.448 / 143.1 /
2 / Alex RINS / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 42’06.712 / 143.1 / 1.264
3 / Luis SALOM / SPA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 42’06.835 / 143 / 1.387
4 / Jonas FOLGER / GER / Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 / KALEX KTM / 42’20.041 / 142.3 / 14.593
5 / Alex MARQUEZ / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 42’43.397 / 141 / 37.949
6 / Jakub KORNFEIL / CZE / Redox RW Racing GP / KALEX KTM / 42’45.743 / 140.9 / 40.295
7 / Romano FENATI / ITA / San Carlo Team Italia / FTR HONDA / 42’48.773 / 140.7 / 43.325
8 / Brad BINDER / RSA / Ambrogio Racing / SUTER HONDA / 42’48.985 / 140.7 / 43.537
9 / Alexis MASBOU / FRA / Ongetta-Rivacold / FTR HONDA / 42’50.959 / 140.6 / 45.511
10 / Isaac VIÑALES / SPA / Ongetta-Centro Seta / FTR HONDA / 42’51.122 / 140.6 / 45.674
11 / John McPHEE / GBR / Caretta Technology – RTG / FTR HONDA / 42’56.900 / 140.3 / 51.452
12 / Jack MILLER / AUS / Caretta Technology – RTG / FTR HONDA / 42’57.040 / 140.3 / 51.592
13 / Arthur SISSIS / AUS / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 43’04.161 / 139.9 / 58.713
14 / Alessandro TONUCCI / ITA / La Fonte Tascaracing / FTR HONDA / 43’04.418 / 139.9 / 58.97
15 / Philipp OETTL / GER / Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing / KALEX KTM / 43’23.475 / 138.8 / 1’18.027

Pole Position: Maverick VIÑALES 1’43.696 145.2 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Maverick VIÑALES 1’43.916 144.9 Km/h Lap 24
Old Circuit Record Lap: Jakub KORNFEIL 2’01.056 124.4 Km/h2012
Circuit Best Lap: Maverick VIÑALES 1’43.696 145.2 Km/h 2013

1 VIÑALES 90, 2 SALOM 77, 3 RINS 61, 4 FOLGER 53, 5 BINDER 32, 6 KHAIRUDDIN 28, 7 KORNFEIL 27, 8 MARQUEZ 24, 9 MASBOU 23, 10 OLIVEIRA 20, 11 SISSIS 19, 12 AJO 18, 13 FENATI 17, 14 VAZQUEZ 16, 15 MILLER 14.

— HRC Report

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored a masterful victory in treacherous conditions at Le Mans this afternoon to take the World Championship lead from team-mate Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) who finished a brilliant third in his first wet-weather MotoGP race.

The fourth round of the 2013 campaign started on a soaking track, which slowly dried as the race went on to reveal narrow dry lines here and there, making the task of machine control on worn rain tyres extremely tricky. Pedrosa and Marquez were the masters of the conditions, Pedrosa dominating the race after a tussle with early leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), while Marquez fought back brilliantly after completing the first lap in eighth place. The Spanish pair now hold first and second positions in the points chase.

Pedrosa started from the second row and was up to third at the end of the first lap. He was quickly up to speed, passing reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) on lap three and then attacking Dovizioso for the lead two laps later at the Garage Vert right-hander. Pedrosa quickly built a 1.3 second advantage but ran very wide at the La Chapelle hairpin on lap eight, which put Dovizioso back in front. The Spaniard was ahead again four laps later, then the Italian took over once more at half-distance. Next time round Pedrosa grabbed the lead at the Musee left-hander and that was that.

The second half of the race was all his own, his advantage growing to seven seconds at one point. In the final laps he eased his pace to cross the finish line 4.8 seconds ahead of Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) who had got the better of Dovizioso in the final laps. It was Pedrosa’s second successive win, following his similarly dominant performance at sunny Jerez two weeks ago. The result was also Pedrosa’s 24th premier-class victory, which puts him one win behind 1993 500 World Champion Kevin Schwantz.

Marquez’s race was equally impressive. The 20-year-old started from pole position but lost several places at the start and then took his time to get the hang of riding a MotoGP bike in the wet, making a few mistakes at the same time. And yet remarkably it only took him eight laps to learn to race a MotoGP bike in the rain – on laps eight, nine and ten he was the fastest man on track but he was still in tenth place. During the final two thirds of the 28 laps he moved forward at a remarkable rate, taking the final podium place from Dovizioso with two laps to go. The result maintained Marquez’s 100 per cent podium record from his first four races as a MotoGP rookie.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) rode a good race to finish sixth, behind the Ducatis of Dovizioso and Nick Hayden. Despite not getting the best of starts he ran a good pace in the early stages and was happy enough with the end result, considering he’s never like the Le Mans circuit.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) came home in tenth place after sliding off at the Dunlop chicane on lap 18. He had been running in sixth place when he went down. The young German quickly remounted, rejoining the track in 11th position.

Australian MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was one of the early fallers, sliding off his CBR100RR-powered CRT bike on the second lap.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) won the Honda-powered Moto2 race to become the first non-Spanish winner in any MotoGP class so far this year. The Briton started from pole position but made a slow start, ending the first lap down in eighth. He fought back brilliantly from there, passing several rivals to take the lead from local Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) on lap nine. The race was red flagged when rain began to fall in the final laps. Results were taken from the 22nd of the scheduled 26 laps.

Cool and tricky conditions contributed to the numerous crashes, most importantly three falls at the Musee left-hander. On lap three Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) grabbed the lead from Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) who then slid off at Musee, followed immediately by his team-mate Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex). Four laps later Nakagami crashed at the same corner, gifting the lead to Zarco.

Redding stayed out front from lap nine onwards but he was always under pressure from the group of riders immediately behind him. First it was Zarco who was his closest challenger and later it was team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) who came through to finish second after a difficult first few laps.

Xavier Simeon (Desguaces La Torre Maptaq Kalex) took his first Grand Prix podium in third place, just 1.234 seconds down on Redding, having got the better of Zarco and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) who finished fourth, just ahead of Zarco.

Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) finished sixth, his best result of the year, just ahead of another local, Mike Di Meglio (JiR Moto2 Motobi). Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) and Alex De Angelis ((NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up) completed the top ten.

Redding’s first Moto2 win – he won the British 125 GP in 2008 – moves him into the World Championship lead, 24 points ahead of Spanish GP winner Rabat.

The Moto3 race – first of the day – got underway on a partially damp track and was won by World Championship leader Maverick Vinales (KTM). Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) was Honda’s top finisher, the Italian crossing the finish line in seventh place after a thrilling battle with several other Honda riders.

Fenati was chased over the line by Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda), Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) and Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda); the four riders covered by just over two seconds. Team-mates John McPhee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) and Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) were next in 11th and 12th. Binder’s result puts him an impressive fifth in the World Championship standings.

The MotoGP 2013 World Championship continues with the Italian Grand Prix – one of the sport’s favourite events – at Mugello on June 2.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: race winner
“I’m very happy because I have earned an important victory. I’ve been trying to win at this circuit for many years in MotoGP and it has always been a tough track for me. Today, the moment finally arrived, when I least expected it, and it is immensely satisfying. Conditions here are usually against me, because it is cold and I don’t like riding in these temperatures, but today I got the best out of myself. The bike was also good, above all on the opening laps when the track was very wet. I made a few mistakes but I was able to recover from them, maintain the advantage and win the race. I’d like to thank all my team and also my supporters!”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“This podium almost counts as a win as it was my first wet race in MotoGP and I wasn’t expecting to finish in the top three. Also, bearing in mind that I had dropped quite far back from the front, third place and 16 points is an important achievement for the World Championship. We can say that this was a very good weekend; we had a good setting for the dry, but when it rained it was up to me to learn from the mistakes that I made at the start of the race. I need to improve, because I was finding it hard to ride with water on the track. It will be difficult to maintain our performance at Mugello, but we will go there and try 100 per cent. I congratulate Dani on a great race and victory and I’d like to thank the whole team!”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 6th
“That was a particularly difficult race because the conditions were so different to how they’d been for practice. I also didn’t get a great start and that was a shame because looking at the lap times it cost me the chance to fight at the front. When the track started to dry the bike was cutting the power on the straight and I was losing time but sixth place is a positive result if not a great one because we’ve improved on last year and I don’t like this track. Overall we have made progress here and I feel better with the electronics and suspension in the wet. I am satisfied with the result and I want to thank the team and the sponsors. This is a nice boost before we go to their home race at Mugello.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 10th
“My start was pretty good and I think that our pace was not so bad because we were able to race with the top group. Then during the race I could not see properly and had to open the visor many times. So for me it was a bit tough to do the perfect line and I crashed because I touched the white line. After that I was lucky because I was able to keep riding with acceptable lap times. Actually we are back up to speed but we had some bad luck in the race. In any case we are fast in the dry and in the wet so I am looking forward to Mugello which is one of my favourite race tracks.”

Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: DNF
“I made a rookie mistake and ruined the opportunity to get some valuable experience in the wet on this bike, so I am really angry with myself right now. I needed to ride a steady race and instead we’ve ended up with nothing to show. I want to apologise to the team because their efforts this weekend deserved a better result. I will try to make it up to them at Mugello in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Moto2 rider quotes
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team: 1st
“It’s an amazing feeling to have taken the win today, in what were very difficult conditions. It’s a fitting reward for the team, who have all worked so hard for this win and, to them, I have to say a big thank you. I also owe a lot to

Marc van der Straten for his support, so it was great that we had the chance to stand together on the top step of the podium today. The win also puts me back on the top of the championship standings, but this time with a bit more of an advantage, so I’m happy with that. Now we go to Mugello, where I’ll definitely be looking for more of the same!”

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd
“We went with a slightly different setting today and that, combined with the weather conditions, meant I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the race. But the plan was the same as Jerez; to make up as many places in the first few laps by being aggressive and, once again, it worked. I got held up by Domi Aegerter and Xavier Simeon at one point, as both are difficult to pass, but I pushed through into second because there was a good chance the rain would bring out the red flag, which is exactly what happened. It’s a good result for me and it was good for the team to have two riders on the podium today. Now we need to focus on Mugello, and making sure we have the bike set-up right for the first practice session.”

Xavier Simeon, Desguaces La Torre Maptaq: 3rd
“I feel very happy with this podium, after a few difficult years. This year we have a good package – good team and bike – and every race we try to go better. We made another step forward this weekend, which is great. The race was difficult. I could follow the general pace, but when Scott passed me he was a little faster. Then Mika passed me and I was trying to take him again when the red flags came out. Thank you my team – they are doing an incredible job.”

Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia: 7th
“It was a good race. Unfortunately because I went wide, while trying to pass McPhee who was slower, I rushed things a little too much. After that I was able to come back, and the feeling on the bike was good. I’m happy with the bike and the work done with the team. Now we head to Mugello, where we’ll try our best to go back on the podium.”

Brad Binder, Ambrogio Racing: 8th
“It was tricky at the beginning with the dodgy conditions, so I was trying to find my feet. In the middle of the race I kept getting held up. It was only in the last few laps that I got through the group – I kept getting blocked. My last two laps were my fastest laps and they were the first laps I got when I wasn’t blocked. Without all that, I feel I could have done better.”

Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 9th
“That was a really difficult race, especially because during the early laps when the track was still damp in a lot of places. I am a little upset because we chose the soft tyre which cost us the chance of a good result. Anyway, I rode a good race, not so bad. The last few laps were also difficult because sometimes when I shifted the bike wouldn’t change gear, which lost me time.”

— Yamaha Report

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi endured a nightmare race today in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Having enjoyed a dry track for both practice and qualifying the riders had to contend with full wet conditions to start today’s race. Lorenzo started from second on the grid and was able to hold behind race leader Andrea Dovizioso initially until passed by Dani Pedrosa with 26 laps to go. As the laps wound down the reigning World Champion gradually dropped position, fighting a wet but slowly drying track with a less than optimum set up. Lorenzo eventually crossed the line in seventh place to claim nine Championship points that keep him in third position in the overall standings.

Rossi made a strong start form eighth on the grid and had moved up to fourth position by the second lap after some swift passes. The Italian was able to find a good race pace and was able to hold on in fourth with the potential to fight for the podium until a strange low side crash with 11 laps remaining of the race. Ross remounted and re-joined, nursing his damaged M1 home in 12th position to take four Championship points and sit in fifth in the overall standings.

Jorge Lorenzo, 7th
“In the beginning of the race the bike was not the same as warm up but not so bad and I could follow Andrea and Dani. I was losing a lot in some areas of the track but recovering in others. Then after three or four laps the bike got worse and I got problems everywhere. In the braking because in the middle of the corner I didn’t trust the rear tyre and in acceleration because the rear was spinning so much I lost nearly half a second compared to the others. Races are like this sometimes; last year I won by 20 seconds with a very good bike and this year was completely the opposite. I couldn’t do much more without crashing.”

Valentino Rossi, 12th
“Unfortunately we lost a good chance to get a good result today, I think we had the potential to arrive with the first three and arrive on the podium. I had a good pace and I was fast and I could fight with the other guys. In that corner, I didn’t arrive too fast and didn’t feel any mistake but I felt a bump and lost the front, so it’s a pity because we lose points and especially the chance to try to make a good podium here. Anyway, it can happen and the important thing is that today we were fast so we will see next week.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very difficult race. Finally Jorge was missing a lot of feeling on corner entry and little feeling with the tyres so no confidence to lean the bike. If you don’t feel safe and the bike slides then it’s difficult to finish races like this. We will concentrate on what the problem is because we can’t give an answer now. The most important thing today was not to crash. To lose a lot of points is of course a drama, so we need to focus now and catch up for the rest of the season.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Unfortunately it has been a race under our estimation. We have been very competitive up to the race in every condition, dry and wet; unfortunately we missed the most important part of the weekend. We lost a potential podium with Valentino after a great start to the race with some good overtakes. We are still checking Jorge’s data to really understand what didn’t work. It is almost impossible to judge what it is at this point but we will know more soon. This weekend is now done so we will now focus to prepare for our ‘home’ race in the best way possible.”

Crutchlow claims heroic career best result in Le Mans

Cal Crutchlow produced the ride of his MotoGP career in Le Mans today to claim a heroic podium in the home race of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Just 24 hours after a heavy practice crash left him with a fracture in his right leg, the British rider showed amazing skill, concentration and courage to finish second in a 28-lap race run in the toughest conditions imaginable. Crutchlow was the lead Yamaha rider home at the end of a race that started on a perilously slippery and wet surface after heavy rain fell in the build-up. Visibility and calculating grip levels were major early challenges but Crutchlow quickly gained his confidence and he sliced through the field with some outstanding overtakes. The 27-year-old stormed through from seventh to second with measured moves on reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, an impressive feat considering how tough it was to master constantly changing conditions and grip levels on a rapidly drying track. Crutchlow’s career best MotoGP result and first rostrum of 2013 was secured on lap 24 when he attacked former Tech 3 teammate Dovizioso and today’s outstanding performance moved the former World Supersport Champion into fourth place in the World Championship standings with four of 18 rounds completed.

A career best MotoGP result to date was also being hailed on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage after Bradley Smith raced his YZR-M1 to a determined ninth position. The slippery track surface had an immediate impact on Smith’s race. He suffered a big rear tyre slide while accelerating off the line and it was only the lightning reflexes of the 22-year-old that saved him from a fall. He dropped right to the back of the field but despite only having very limited experience of the YZR-M1 in wet conditions, Smith’s recent attempts to smoothen his riding style proved vital this afternoon. Smith quickly established a fast rhythm and as his confidence grew he was able to deliver a fantastic fight back into the top 10. His rousing recovery to ninth moves him to the brink of the top 10 in the World Championship classification on 17 points.

Cal Crutchlow, 2nd
“I’m really happy to get my best ever result in MotoGP and the whole team did an incredible job and deserves this result. We showed our fast pace in the dry, we showed our pace in the wet and I think everybody is aware we are not here through luck. It’s even better and more important because this is the home race for Tech 3 and Monster Energy sponsors the event. So to be the best and only Yamaha on the podium feels really good. My start was not the best and it took me a bit of time to get temperature into the tyres. But once I managed that I felt really comfortable. When I saw Andrea and Dani opening a small gap to Valentino I had to make a move because I was afraid they would be too far ahead to try and catch later in the race. And when I saw Marquez recovering time on my pit board I had to pass Andrea otherwise he might have caught both of us during the last laps. I’m really happy with how things went, especially after the crash yesterday. The wet track obviously put less stress on my body but it was tough riding injured in such tough conditions. From now on I just hope we can be injury free and go to Mugello to put on the same show as we did here today.”

Bradley Smith 9th
“Today was a really good learning experience. I’d hardly ridden the YZR-M1 in the rain before, so to get 28 laps under my belt in really tricky conditions was obviously an experience that taught me a lot. During the race I was able to ride a lot smoother and I hope I can carry over something from this experience to the dry in the future. I’m a little bit disappointed with the start of the race. I had a problem with the clutch in the warm up but we were sure it was just because this was my first start in the wet but apparently it was not. But after the first 10 laps to the end of the race I had a very good pace and I’m happy with the improvement made during the whole weekend with ninth position in qualifying and also ninth in the race. That’s my best MotoGP result and gives my confidence another lift, so now I’m really looking forward to going to Mugello, which is a track I can’t wait to ride a MotoGP bike on. Congratulations also to Cal. He rode an awesome race and in an important race for Tech 3 and Monster Energy it was great to see both of us having such a positive result.”

— Ducati Report

Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden turned in strong performances in unpredictable race conditions in the French GP, taking their Desmosedici GP13 machines to fourth and fifth place, respectively.

With the MotoGP riders having gone almost the entire race weekend at Le Mans with no wet riding, a light rain began falling shortly before the start, only to relent about mid-distance, creating the conditions for an exciting and eventful race. Dovizioso grabbed the top spot from the front row, and he led eight laps in the early going, fending off eventual winner Dani Pedrosa for some time before finally conceding the lead position. On a steadily drying track surface, the Italian began losing grip in the latter stages, but although he slipped out of podium contention with just two laps remaining, he was pleased to have ridden a steady and intelligent race for his best result of the season so far.

The same was true of Hayden, who had shrugged off a fourth-row starting position to advance to sixth place on lap one. The American ran as high as fourth before eventually slipping one spot near the end.

Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 4th
“It’s always nice to be at the front of the pack! I’m really happy with my feeling with the bike, and as long as the tyres were decent, I was able to manage the situation well. Dani had more than I did, but I was still able to keep a good pace. We had good grip, which helped us to have a nice race, but as the track dried, the tyres began wearing a lot. I couldn’t keep the pace in the last six or seven laps, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the podium. I’m sorry for the team about that, but we had a positive weekend in all aspects, even in the dry.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 5th
“Rain races are tough, especially when you don’t have much time to set up the bike! I got a great start and picked up some positions in the first few corners. I didn’t feel great at first, but I began to improve and was closing on the lead group when they were battling with each other. I really enjoyed that, especially when the track was pretty wet. Things got more difficult as it dried, but I was hanging in there. I was looking for a way past Rossi, and when he crashed, I picked it up and ran wide. I put my head down and tried to close the gap, but I made a mistake, and after Marquez got by, I just tried to stay up and get to the finish. Top-five is our best result of the season, but for a while, I thought I had a possibility to do something really good. Still, there were moments this weekend when we showed more potential than we have all year, and I’m really looking forward to Mugello.”

Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“We head home from Le Mans with some positive feelings. Both Andrea and Nicky had good races, and it was nice to see the Ducati at the front in a GP again, and fighting for the top positions for the entire race. This circuit is certainly suited to our bike’s characteristics, but it was also easy to make mistakes in the wet conditions that began drying toward the end, so we have to be satisfied with the result. Our team really worked well this weekend, so I want to thank not just the riders, but also our technicians and engineers, as well as the guys from Ducati Corse in Bologna, for all of their efforts.”

— Bridgestone Report

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft Rear: Extra-soft (Symmetric), Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 14-16°C; Track 14-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Dani Pedrosa made it back-to-back victories after a masterful performance in wet conditions at Le Mans today, a performance that sees the Repsol Honda rider move to the top of the MotoGP™ rider standings.

With rain falling at the start of the race, it was Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who got the holeshot to lead into the first corner ahead of Pedrosa, the two riders swapping the lead a few times before Pedrosa made his race-winning pass on lap fourteen. Once in the lead Pedrosa held his position at the front to win the race by 4.863 seconds – his first MotoGP victory in France. In second place was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider overcoming the pain of a leg injury to claim his highest ever placing in MotoGP ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who made a great comeback after a slow start to take the final podium position. First of the CRT riders across the finish line was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro in thirteenth place.

Cool and wet conditions greeted the grid for the French Grand Prix, with a track temperature of just 14°C recorded at the start of the twenty-eight lap race. The conditions resulted in all twenty-four riders selecting the softer wet tyre options front and rear for the highest level of warm-up performance, although some riders went out on the sighting lap with the harder option wets, before changing to the soft option on the grid due to the cold conditions. As the race progressed the rain ceased and the sun started to shine, causing a dry line to appear on turns two, seven and eight which caused variable grip levels in different sections of the circuit.

Pedrosa now leads his Repsol Honda teammate Marquez in the MotoGP championshop standings by six points, while a further nine points back and third in the standings is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Well done to Dani for his second win of the season in what were difficult riding conditions at Le Mans, and I’d also like to congratulate Cal on his best ever MotoGP result at the home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. We always knew that Le Mans can present variable weather, so despite the rain today which made it quite challenging for the riders, I am happy that we still had an exciting contest. Another good crowd was present this year at Le Mans and the many fans that braved today’s wet conditions were rewarded with a fantastic MotoGP race.”

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s race conditions made it quite difficult for riders with a very cold and wet track at the beginning of the race causing low grip, before a dry line appeared on some corners towards the end of the race which caused different grip levels on various sections of the circuit. This is the kind of wet race that really tests the riders and so our wet tyres had to handle the rapidly changing track conditions, particularly as the riders did not experience fully wet conditions until the beginning of the race and so perhaps didn’t have the ideal wet setup for the race. As we expected, Le Mans once again delivered a big variety in track conditions and our tyre allocation for this race weekend gave options for every situation.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“It was a very good race, I’m so happy with this one as the start of the race was hard. It was a little difficult in the beginning with the grip from the rear, but after a couple of laps I could get enough temperature in the tyres and I had a good feeling which allowed me to push more. Once I was in the front I could keep a good rhythm and managed my gap, so it is great to get my first MotoGP win at this circuit.”

— Marc VDS Report

Scott Redding secured his first win in the Moto2 World Championship with an impressive ride to victory in today’s French Moto2 Grand Prix, which was ended prematurely by the onset of heavy rain. Redding was joined on the podium by his Marc VDS teammate, Mika Kallio, who made it a perfect day for the team with a second place finish in the race.

Redding’s victory, the first by an English rider in the intermediate class since Alan Carter’s win in Le Mans exactly 30 years ago, saw the 20-year-old Briton retake the lead in the championship standings with a 24-point advantage over Tito Rabat who, along with his Pons teammate Pol Espargaro, crashed out of today’s race in the difficult conditions.

Kallio’s second place saw the 30-year-old Finn promoted back to third place in the championship standings, just five points behind Rabat and 29 points off the top spot.

Redding lost ground at the start but, together with teammate Kallio, quickly fought his way back into the top five, as the tricky mixed conditions claimed a number of victims in the early stages of the race. The two Marc VDS riders eventually forced their way to the front, with Redding taking the lead and Kallio squeezing past Xavier Simeon into second place. And that’s how it ended, as the red flag was brought out with three laps to go due to heavy rain falling on what had been declared a dry race.

In today’s Moto3 race Livio Loi missed out on another points scoring finish by the narrowest of margins, crossing the line in 16th position at the end of the 24-lap race. Wild card rider Jules Danilo’s Grand Prix debut ended in disappointment, as the 18-year-old Frenchman crashed out of the race after losing the front at the Dunlop Chicane on lap 14.

Scott Redding #45: 1st
“It’s an amazing feeling to have taken the win today, in what were very difficult conditions. It’s a fitting reward for the team, who have all worked so hard for this win and, to them, I have to say a big thank you. I also owe a lot to Marc van der Straten for his support, so it was great that we had the chance to stand together on the top step of the podium today. The win also puts me back on the top of the championship standings, but this time with a bit more of an advantage, so I’m happy with that. Now we go to Mugello, where I’ll definitely be looking for more of the same!”

Mika Kallio #36: 2nd
“We went with a slightly different setting today and that, combined with the weather conditions, meant I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the race. But the plan was the same as Jerez; to make up as many places in the first few laps by being aggressive and, once again, it worked. I got held up by Domi Aegerter and Xavier Simeon at one point, as both are difficult to pass, but I pushed through into second because there was a good chance the rain would bring out the red flag, which is exactly what happened. It’s a good result for me and it was good for the team to have two riders on the podium today. Now we need to focus on Mugello, and making sure we have the bike set-up right for the first practice session.”

Livio Loi #11: 16th
“I’m a little disappointed to finish outside the points today, but I was losing out on the straights on every lap. I don’t know if there is an issue with the engine, but every time we hit the straights four riders would just drive straight past me. I was pushing hard to make up the lost positions in the corners, but it just wasn’t possible.”

Jules Danilo #95: DNF
“Obviously I’m disappointed that my Grand Prix debut ended this way, in the gravel trap, but up until that point I was having a good race and I was putting in some good times. I got caught out on the entry to the Dunlop chicane, as Toni Finsterbusch braked earlier than I was expecting. I went to pass him on the outside, but hit a damp patch and lost the front. I’d like to say thank you to the Marc VDS Racing Team for their support here in Le Mans, and I look forward to joining them again at the Sachsenring.”

Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team
“Congratulations to Scott, to Mika and to the whole team on a fantastic result here in Le Mans. It doesn’t get any better than a one-two finish! To stand on the podium with both of our Moto2 riders was a real pleasure for me, especially as we were joined by my fellow countryman, Xavier Simeon, who finished third on Scott Redding’s bike from last season. With our riders taking first and second, and Xavier on the podium in third, it’s been a very good day for Belgium here at Le Mans.”

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