Valentino Rossi only has four-points to his name from the first four round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship thus both himself and his loyal horde of followers will be hoping for a significant turn around in form when MotoGP visits France this weekend.
Rossi went down on the opening lap at a wet Le Mans last year, and it is also forecast to be wet this weekend.
Valentino does hold an enviable record at Le Mans though, with the most recent of his 13 MotoGP/500cc podiums at the circuit – of which three were victories – occurring in 2018. That year (2018), Rossi took four podiums and finished the championship in third place.
Rossi’s first premier class victory at Le Mans was in 2002 while he also took the top step in 2005 and 2008.
Rossi has not scored a podium since Jerez last year, where the veteran carded a third place. The MotoGP Legend has been on a tally of 199 podium finishes since then, teetering on that amazing double-century threshold…
The majority of Rossi’s podiums in MotoGP have of course come with Yamaha, 142 and counting. With Honda Rossi achieved 54 on his way to three titles, while at Ducati Rossi celebrated only three podium finishes from his two years and 35 starts on the Desmosedici in 2011 and 2012, two of which were actually at Le Mans.
Rossi was able to enjoy a successful one-day test last week at Jerez, which saw him make improvements with the race pace and the feeling of his Yamaha YZR-M1. He will be hoping that these improvements bear fruit in France this weekend.
“Undoubtedly this weekend I want to be stronger, recover positions and be faster compared to the last round in Jerez. Last year I was strong in the dry conditions in Le Mans, I was fast and had a good race pace, but it started to rain just before the race and I crashed on the first corner. It’s a great track, with a lot of changes in direction due to the chicanes and I like it a lot. With good grip and strong acceleration, it is a really nice track to ride. We hope that we can have good weather from FP1 until the end of the race. We had a good test last week in Jerez, where we were able to improve different aspects and I hope that we see this also at Le Mans.”
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