Riders talk Le Mans MotoGP 2018


Marc Marquez – P1

“I’m particularly happy with this win here in Le Mans, as it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us! Today I was the only one on a hard rear tyre, and that made my approach to the race a bit different because I knew it would take a little more time to reach the right temperature. But during the warm-up, I had the opportunity to verify that once the tyre was ready, it was very constant, and I was able to keep a very good rhythm. To be honest, things were a bit challenging at the beginning of the race: Zarco touched me in the second corner and I went a bit wide, then Iannone crashed and nearly hit me, so I lost some more positions. I decided to cool down for a while. When I saw that Dovi and Johann were out, my approach to the race again changed a bit. At a certain point, I had one big moment in turn three, where I had already crashed in FP3, which is why I was being extremely careful there; I think that helped me to avoid a crash in that moment. I’m currently experiencing a very ‘sweet’ period with my bike, and when you’ve got that kind of feeling, you also work better; then you ride better, and the bike works better. Things don’t exactly become easier when you get into this zone, but they’re more ‘natural.’ Of course it’s a very long season, and not all the races will be the same, so we’ll just try and keep the momentum.”

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez
Danilo Petrucci – P2

“It is a great Sunday. I couldn’t get off to a good start but managed to stay with the leading group from first lap. I had a good pace and a great confidence. We did a great job this weekend. I am also pleased to have given the team a great satisfaction. See you at Mugello.”

Danilo Petrucci leads Jack Miller
Danilo Petrucci leads Jack Miller
Valentino Rossi – P3

“Since yesterday, we‘ve worked well. I was feeling quite pessimistic after qualifying, but we made two or three modifications to the balance of the bike that gave me more grip and also made me lose less in acceleration. Already this morning in the warm up I was not so bad, so I thought “I can do a good race”, but starting from the third row is always difficult. You have to stay concentrated, but I had a great start and right from the first lap I was able to overtake. I was in the right group. The other positive thing was that after that lap I was fast, I did good lap times and I had a good pace, this is very important. I hope that we can continue to work strongly, like we did today, to further improve the bike.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Jack Miller – P4

“It was a good race. I am pleased to have been with the front group all the time. I tried to take Valentino for the podium but in the end I wasn’t able to do it. I would like to congratulate Petrux for his result and thank the team for the work they have done this weekend. It is a great team and they deserve this result”.

Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Dani Pedrosa – P5

“Fifth is a decent result considering the weekend and my physical potential. Looking at the positives, we recovered five positions after starting from 10th place, which isn’t so easy at this track. Today it was also important not to crash, and we managed to finish the race, which in turn lets us approach the next race with some more confidence. And finally, our rhythm at the end of the race was consistent, even if it’s not yet as fast as we would’ve liked. We were able to improve our bike setup over the weekend, and I’d like to thank the team for that. Now we’ll see what my physical condition is like after next week’s test in Catalunya. Hopefully it will be better, and then we’ll try and keep improving our performances.”

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa
Jorge Lorenzo – P6

“Once again I got a great start, which allowed me to stay in the lead for nine laps, but unfortunately I was unable to keep the pace for all the distance. We still have a small problem making the bike more user-friendly, which makes it very tiring for me, and I’m unable to be consistent for many laps. Luckily in two days’ time we will be at Montmeló for a one-day test and we’ll try and find a solution, because I’m convinced that if we manage to resolve these final details we can fight for podiums and the wins. In any case we finished the race and, after my DNF in Jerez, this was also one of today’s objectives.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
Maverick Vinales – P7

“This was not the race I hoped for when I arrived here in Le Mans. It took me quite some time to get past a few rivals and when I arrived in seventh place the gap to the riders in front of me was too big. It’s disappointing that I couldn’t fight at the front today, and this is something we need to keep working on, but I did move up to second in the championship standings. This means we need to stay focused and keep working hard, starting at the test in Montmeló. I can’t wait to go there so we can try to make another step before the next GP.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales
Cal Crutchlow – P8

“I was actually a bit disappointed with the race because I knew all weekend I had the pace, but I finished where I finished because of the consequences of what happened yesterday. The team did a great job, they put a bike on the grid for me that was capable of challenging at the front of the race, but I just wasn’t able to today. I wasn’t willing to push in the first laps, it was as simple as that. Over the first 10 or 15 laps I didn’t want to make any mistakes, I just needed to stay on the bike otherwise I could have done myself some serious injury. After that, I was able to push a little bit and pick some riders off, but I have to give credit to the team. It’s the first race we’ve finished for a while, it’s not a great result, but I’m happy to have finished and done a good enough job.”

Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow
Aleix Espargaro – P9

“At the start I was bogged down on the first chicane, losing several positions, so in the early laps I had to push to the limit to make up lost ground. At that point, it was no longer possible to catch up with the leading group of riders and I found myself pushing on my own for the entire race. I maintained a good pace around a low 1’33”, despite a strong chattering on the front that I had not felt all weekend up to that point, otherwise I think that I could also have been faster for a few laps, maybe around a high 1’32”. After an unlucky season start, we’ll take this ninth place as a starting point, even if it is certainly not the result we had been aiming for.”

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro
Alex Rins – P10

“This weekend has been very difficult for me, trying to manage everything and go fast. In the race I tried to find the balance, and I think finishing in tenth was a good result. I was fighting with Aleix, Maverick and Cal during the last laps and we got a good finish. Now I just need to work hard from Fridays onwards, because all the tracks from now on I have already ridden with the MotoGP bike. Things are going in a good way, and at the Mugello test we tried some useful things, so we’ll go there with our heads up and try to complete a good weekend.”

Alex Rins
Alex Rins
Pol Espargaro – P11

“We made a good start with six places on the first lap and made my way into that group ahead of me. I then tried as hard as I could to finish as fast as possible and make that eleventh place. We’re almost twenty seconds faster than we were last year and this is very nice because we have been working very hard. We’re still looking ahead and we have some way to go. Mugello next and our bike is fast on the straight – I think today we had the fourth best speed in the traps – this means our engine is working well and I’m hopeful and positive that we’ll be consistent.”

Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith
Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith in the mix
Hafizh Syahrin – P12

“In the race I was feeling very good, but it’s a shame that I did a bad start and then I was behind a slow group, I had to pass one by one. I know, that my pace was very strong and I think I could have been inside the top 10 with this, but it’s difficult to pass on this track and you also need to be really brave to pass in the first corner. I tried it many times, but in the end, I lost the faster group in front. This is a nice experience for me and I try to learn and to understand for the next races. Also, my confidence is coming back. In Mugello I hope I can give my best again, I try to stay focused and work hard on my physical condition and my riding.”

Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin
Bradley Smith – P14

“I’m pleased with the race. I lost a bit of time at the beginning with the battling on the opening laps. I was keeping stable with the guys by mid-race and then struggled to get back to them. 14th is another points-scoring position and I was having a good fight with Morbidelli at the end. We improved another fifteen seconds over our race distance last year so again KTM is making gains but the competition keeps getting higher and higher. Heads down now and thoughts towards the two-day test in Barcelona and we need to try the new surface. I enjoy Mugello and the bike has some good power and potential. It is always a favourite of mine on the calendar with the undulations and the crazy Italian fans. It’s a pleasure to ride there.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Takaaki Nakagami – P15

“It was a tough race and my physical condition is not perfect, but during the race I felt ok. It was not a great start to the race, but I had a much better feeling with the bike than in Jerez. I was behind Cal for a bit and I thought about trying to overtake him, but then he started to go away and so I tried to follow him. But after 15 laps I started to struggle on the front tyre as maybe I used it too much in the early part in the braking. From then I struggled a little to keep the pace, but I made an adjustment on the mapping which helped us understand a bit more from this race. The day after tomorrow we have testing in Montmelo and we just have to keep pushing and improving and now I’m looking forward to Mugello.”

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami
Karel Abraham – P17

“This weekend has been hard for us. I’m not happy with how it went, and it’s not where we deserve to end up. I am doing my best and it seems that for now it is not enough. I will have to continue working hard. In the end we were placed seventeenth and we placed out of the points. I think we are able to do much better than this, but unfortunately we are not getting there yet.”

Karel Abraham and Alvaro Bautista
Karel Abraham and Alvaro Bautista
Xavier Simeon – P18

“It is a shame, because I struggled during the whole race and I was hardly able to ride the bike. After five or six laps, the pain in my right arm was too much and it is a pity because in the warm up this morning we found something on the set-up that helped me a lot. I was really comfortable and during the first few laps, I was able to attack and battled within a group. But then I had this problem in my forearm and I was counting down the laps until the end. We have to find a solution to this issue for the rest of the season, because we improved the bike and we want to continue on our way up.”

Xavier Simeon
Xavier Simeon
Scott Redding – DNF

“It was a difficult weekend, but I am trying to look at the positive side. Unlike what happened in Jerez, where I didn’t have grip in the early laps, here at the race start I felt quite at ease with the bike. Usually the situation improves lap by lap, so I had planned on staying in the group of riders I was battling with to then improve during the race. Unfortunately, I struggled to manage the front tyre and, in fact, my crash was caused by a loss of grip at the front. I am disappointed about how things ended, but I am happy with the way I was riding in the race, where I had the best sensations of the weekend.”

Scott Redding
Scott Redding
Andrea Dovizioso – DNF

“I’m really gutted, this time it was only my mistake. I went a bit wide at Turn 6, I didn’t think I had any problems with the front turning in but it did. It’s a real pity because today I had good sensations and a chance of fighting for the win, I think quite easily, and it is an unacceptable error for someone like myself who wants to fight for the title. At this moment in time it’s hard to digest the mistake I made because I usually don’t make any, but unfortunately races are sometimes like that and now we have to look to the future. I want to say sorry to the team and the guys in Ducati Corse because we did an outstanding job this weekend, we came to the race in perfect condition and our bike was simply terrific.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso
Álvaro Bautista – DNF

“It was a crash on the second lap. I lost the rear wheel slightly and at the same time the front slid out. I was coming out of Turn 6, and it’s strange to lose the front end exiting a corner. We were always a couple of tenths off the top 10 and I think that in the race we could have fought to be up there. Now we have to look ahead and see if at Mugello we can continue with the same feeling. I feel more comfortable with the bike; the change we made at Jerez was not only specific to that track. Here we were able to feel the same and ride the same, so I’m satisfied with that.”

Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista
Johann Zarco – DNF

“We experienced a difficult end of our home Grand Prix, after having great feelings. Anyway, we take home very nice memories with the pole position and showed a great performance. We worked well and, in the race, I was in second position. My start was quite bad, but in the first chicane I could almost immediately make up the positions again. Afterwards, it was difficult with Lorenzo, maybe I could have been faster, but I just didn’t get through. Later on, I wanted to overtake him, but I did a little mistake. I think I was too fast in that corner, went a bit wider and the front closed. I didn’t expect to crash, because my feeling on the bike was good. I should have maybe wait to have less fuel in the bike, which was the best moment for us during the weekend. Even with used tyres, the control was good and it happened at the beginning of the race. I should have waited a bit longer, but I didn’t do it. Now I have to keep in mind, that sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are not. Yet, I will keep doing what I do all over the world and keep the victory as a target this year.”

Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco
Tito Rabat – DNF

“This time I had a good start, the first lap was strong, I gained one place and my feeling with the bike was perfect. I felt so strong that I wanted to overtake Dani and Rins as soon as possible. Instead of thinking and be patient, I just wanted to pass them. They went long in one turn and I tried, but in the next corner I changed my lines to defend my position, lost the front and crashed. I want to say sorry to the team because I had a great bike today and a good opportunity for a top ten finish. But I’ve screwed up.”

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat
Andrea Iannone – DNF

“I don’t really know what happened and it was a really strange crash. For sure I’m not happy about this race because we had really good potential today and really good pace, enough to be able to aim for the podium. But this is the reality. I started really well but then I lost the rear and it was strange, the team will check the data. I missed out on a potential podium and points, and both were really important. But we will come back strong from this situation. I hope Mugello will be a really good race for us, especially after a positive test there. It’s my home race so I’m really motivated.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Team Managers talk Le Mans

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“Today’s podium is important and encouraging for the team. Valentino really deserved the third place he earned today, because he never gave up throughout this weekend. He used all his experience and his resilience to prepare for this race and once again proved his pedigree, especially considering the set-back of yesterday’s qualifying. Maverick had a difficult start and he needed a lot of time to overtake the riders in front of him. By the time he had a clear track he was able to ride good lap times, but by then the gap to the front was already too big. On a positive note, he did take over second place in the championship standings, but it’s mainly Vale’s podium result, at a track that caught out many riders today, that gives the team a boost for the next GP. However, first we’ll be testing at Montmeló, to try the resurfaced track, and this will give us some further time to work on the bikes’ balance.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager

“The French Grand Prix is over and I can’t tell you that this isn’t a scenario I didn’t think about. Until Saturday night, Johann did the perfect weekend in my opinion, he got this unbelievable pole position, kept his head cool and looked like coping really well with the pressure of the home GP. This morning, we saw another Johann. There was this kind of warning when he crashed together with Lüthi during the Warm Up, which is not what he is normally doing. We could see, that he was nervous, he wanted to convince himself that everything was going well. The Warm Up is always the last time you are on the bike before you start the race, so it was an important moment. For the race, the exit of the grid was bad, but he recovered in the first chicane with an incredible braking maneuver and later on, we saw that Johann was struggling with Lorenzo in acceleration and he had to make up the whole time lost on the brake. Then Marquez came back and they started a three riders battle. I think Johann just kept the brake a bit too much and lost the front. Sure, afterwards you think it was not necessary to try to pass Lorenzo so early, as when the bike gets a bit lighter the pace would have come. I believe there was a podium, but I’m not a guy of ‘if, if, if’. So, we learned, he learned, especially because it’s a shame to do your first DNF after 21 consecutive points finishing races in your home Grand Prix. Anyway, thanks to Johann, thanks to the entire team. I’m sorry for the fans, because they were all dreaming and waiting for at least another podium and we couldn’t deliver, but that’s unfortunately part of the game. We try again next race in Mugello, which could be a bit difficult with the long straight. On the other side, we are very, very happy with Hafizh, who is back to his normal form and was the best rookie. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time behind Morbidelli, otherwise I think a top 10 was highly possible, but the 12thposition and four points is great. Some tests in a few days in Barcelona will for sure help him to understand his MotoGP bike even more, but we are truly pleased with what Hafizh has been doing all weekend long. All the time he has a smile on his face, he is learning and shows a great attention to everything the team is telling him, plus good speed. Finally, we are very proud of him. Let’s pack everything now and head to Barcelona for the next test.”

Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“A race team is a race team and we are always looking for targets ahead of us. At the moment we are stuck around these positions…but that does not mean it is easy to earn these positions! It is the limit we are hitting at the moment and everybody in the team and the company is working very hard to make a step on the technical side because we have to help our riders get into the top ten. That is the goal for the season and it will not happen overnight but we are pushing hard for it. I hope we can bring an update and start to beat our previous best results.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Davide Brivio – Team Suzuki Ecstar Manager

“Of course the early crash from Andrea was a big pity because today we started in a very good position and he had good pace – we could have had a very good race in the top group I think. Andrea has been consistently fast in the last races and also here for the whole weekend, so we look forward to Mugello, which is also a special track for him. Alex was struggling during the weekend, we also tried some final modifications in warmup before the race, and the result wasn’t so bad considering the difficulties we faced. It was important for him to finish the race, and he scored a few points. He has already ridden the MotoGP bike at Mugello, when we tested there last week, so we will turn the page and look towards this next race. We’ll continue to work.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

2018 MotoGP – Round Five – Le Mans – Race Results

  1. Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda
  2. Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +2.310
  3. Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +5.350
  4. Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +6.314
  5. Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +7.419
  6. Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati +10.355
  7. Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +23.758
  8. Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Castrol Honda +25.795
  9. Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +26.206
  10. Alex RINS SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki +27.937
  11. Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +32.304
  12. Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +34.962
  13. Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +37.881
  14. Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +38.299
  15. Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda +41.986
  16. Thomas LUTHI SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +45.260
  17. Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati +56.872
  18. Xavier SIMEON BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +1’12.117
MotoGP Podium - Le Mans 2018 - Petrucci, Marquez, Rossi
MotoGP Podium – Le Mans 2018 – Petrucci, Marquez, Rossi

MotoGP Championship Standings

  1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 95
  2. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 59
  3. Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 58
  4. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 56
  5. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 54
  6. Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 49
  7. Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 47
  8. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 46
  9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 46
  10. Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 29
  11. Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 24
  12. Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 22
  13. Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 18
  14. Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 16
  15. Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 16
  16. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 13
  17. Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 13
  18. Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 12
  19. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 10
  20. Mika KALLIO KTM FIN 6
  21. Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 5
  22. Bradley SMITH KTM GBR 5
  23. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 1

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