Lorenzo wins rain soaked Le Mans
On a day that saw all three classes of the MotoGP™ World Championship come up against the worst weather condition seen so far this season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who retook the championship lead as he dominated in tricky conditions. He finished ahead of Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who recorded his and the Italian outfit’s best result since joining them last season.
At the start of the race it was however Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who got off to one of his trademark starts followed closely by teammate Casey Stoner. Their lead was short lived, as Lorenzo charged past the pair and instantly pulled out a gap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also made a good start in fourth, followed by a surging Rossi in fifth.
It was heartache for the French fans from the beginning as Power Electronics Aspar’s local rider Randy de Puniet dropped his bike on the grid, and had to head out on his spare one. Near the front, Rossi soon moved past Crutchlow to take fourth, with Dovizioso following suit almost instantly. Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva’s race was ended early as he fell foul of the wet conditions, crashing out of the race in the opening stages.
With Lorenzo building a three second lead, Stoner pushed past Pedrosa to chase down his championship rival. Pedrosa seemed to struggling on the wet surface, with Rossi capitalising on this to take third with 21 laps left. The Tech3 pair passed Pedrosa even further down the order as they looked to hunt down Rossi.
Towards the back, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies was struggling and had a wobble at the end of turn two, shortly after which he entered the pits. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham retired with 17 laps to go, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement rider Chris Vermeulen also having to come in for a helmet change.
As Lorenzo was maintaining his lead around the three-second mark ahead of Stoner, it was the ensuing tussle for third between Crutchlow, Dovizioso and Rossi that was providing some breath-taking overtaking in horrific conditions. Ten laps before the end it was misery for Crutchlow as he lost the front in the first chicane, leaving the two Italians to fight it out for the final podium spot, with Rossi taking third just two corners later. The Brit managed to restart his bike and re-join in eighth. Meanwhile, Lorenzo had extended his lead to six seconds at the front with Stoner a further four seconds ahead of Rossi.
With five laps to go Stoner was held up slightly by Avintia’s Yonny Hernandez, who was being lapped, allowing Rossi to get to within half a second of the Australian world champion. Two laps later, Dovizioso crashed out of fourth tying to stick with the pair, while down the field Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci crashed out of 11th.
The last three laps gave MotoGP fans a racing delight, as old adversaries Stoner and Rossi swapped positions throughout. It was however Rossi who looked back to his old self as he passed Stoner in the first chicane on the last lap, after which he pulled out a lead big enough to secure second.
At the end it was Lorenzo who took the chequered flag to take an eight-point lead at the top of the championship ahead of Stoner, who came home in third. Pedrosa managed fourth, while LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl recorded his best ever result in fifth, ahead or Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden. Dovizioso, who managed to re-join after crashing, finished seventh ahead of his teammate Crutchlow, while Pramac Racing’s Héctor Barberá and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista completed the top ten. Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison put in a great performance to finish as top CRT in 11th.
Race Result – Round 4
1 Jorge Lorenzo 49’39.743 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Valentino Rossi + 9.905 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
3 Casey Stoner + 11.298 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Dani Pedrosa + 29.361 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Stefan Bradl + 32.477 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
6 Nicky Hayden + 32.842 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Andrea Dovizioso + 59.759 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Cal Crutchlow + 1’05.152 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9 Hector Barbera + 1’07.846 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
10 Alvaro Bautista + 1’13.193 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
11 James Ellison + 1’26.663 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
12 Mattia Pasini + 1’27.633 ITA ART Speed Master
13 Aleix Espargaro 1 lap ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Michelle Pirro 1 lap ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
15 Yonny Hernandez 1 lap COL BQR-FTR BQR
16 Ben Spies 1 lap USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
17 Chris Vermeulen 2 laps AUS SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Ivan Silva 2 laps SPA BQR-FTR BQR
19 Danilo Petrucci DNF ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
20 Randy De Puniet DNF FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
21 Karel Abraham DNF CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
1 Jorge Lorenzo 90 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Casey Stoner 82 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Dani Pedrosa 65 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Cal Crutchlow 45 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Andrea Dovizioso 44 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Valentino Rossi 42 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Alvaro Bautista 35 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
8 Stefan Bradl 35 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden 33 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Hector Barbera 26 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
11 Ben Spies 18 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
12 Aleix Espargaro 12 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 6 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Mattia Pasini 6 pts ITA ART Speed Master
15 James Ellison 5 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
16 Danilo Petrucci 4 pts ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
17 Michelle Pirro 4 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
18 Colin Edwards 4 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Yonny Hernandez 3 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
20 Ivan Silva 1 pts SPA BQR-FTR BQR
21 Chris Vermeulen 0 pts AUS SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
22 Karel Abraham 0 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi put in a tremendous ride to take his season-first victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans amid difficult conditions in a dramatic Moto2™ race.
Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró got the best start as he stormed into the lead along with Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding. The first chicane proved difficult as Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi was bucked off his bike, with the trio of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Yuki Takahashi, GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher and S/Master Speed Up’s Mike Di Meglio taking each other out a few corners later.
Espargaró was trying to pull away at the front, but Lüthi and Redding were closely on his heels, with Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea in tow. Takahashi’s teammate Alex de Angelis survived a scare as he slid back onto the track after coming off his bike, with the Moto2 pack doing tremendously well to avoid the rider.
Just as Rea looked to making headway, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco went up the inside, clipping the Brit’s front wheel, and sending him into the gravel, putting an end to his first race on the new Suter chassis. Meanwhile, Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti joined the front five, with Speed Master compatriot Andrea Iannone surging up the field as well.
With 17 laps to go, Espargaró ran wide, handing the lead to Lüthi and dropping into ninth in the process. Smith also had a run off track, but managed to re-join in 14th. Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez, who did not have a terrific start, was fighting his way up to the front five, as he tussled with rain-specialist Zarco.
Drama followed shortly after as the Spanish championship leader went down after loosing control of his bike, and being unable to re-join. This left Zarco to challenge for a podium, and the Frenchman soon pushed past Redding into second, followed by Corti, who put in a bold move on the Brit. With 13 laps to go, Lüthi had pulled out a lead of just over three seconds.
Arguiñano Racing Team’s Ricard Cardús suffered a heavy high-side half way through the race, yet fortunately walked away unscathed. Further down the field, Espargaró was struggling to make up positions, as he was overtaken in eighth place by QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West, who was showing his usual prowess in the rain.
Di Meglio, who had re-joined the race after his early crash, lost control of his bike once again with nine laps to go, putting an end to his race. He was followed shortly by Corti’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami who had a high-speed crash heading into the back chicane. With six laps left, Zarco had cut the lead to Lüthi to under a second, whilst West went past Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón into sixth. West’s teammate Elena Rosell was not faring as well as the Australian, as she crashed out of the race.
French heartache soon followed, as Zarco lost the back-end of his bike as he continued to push hard in the wet, handing second place to Corti and third to Redding. The main tussle in the pack was for sixth place with Redding’s teammate Kallio, West, Espargaró, Simón and Smith swapping positions in the final few laps. The unpredictability of the race was to continue until the final corner as Smith dropped his bike in the last turn, and Simón having to push his bike across the finish line due to an electrical fault.
It was however Lüthi who put in a stunning ride to take the chequered flag ahead of Corti, who recorded his first ever podium, and Redding in third, recording his first podium for 22 races. Rounding out the top ten were Iannone, Kallio, Espargaró, West, Kiefer Racing’s Max Neukirchner, Thai Honda Gresini’s Ratthapark Wilairot as well as Smith, who managed to salvage a few points.
In the Moto3™ race of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, it was Frenchman Louis Rossi who kept his nerve to take his first ever win in treacherous conditions in front of his home crowd.
In a race that started in extremely wet conditions, it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who got away best, with AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin also making a tremendous start from 10th into second. JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who was second on the grid, suffered mechanical issues on the out-lap and was unable to start the race.
There were crashes early on as RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder took out TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, which was followed up shortly after with IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger and local rider, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, sliding off into the gravel.
Back at the front it was Bankia Aspar Team’s Héctor Faubel and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom that went into the lead, as Viñales dropped off the pace slightly. However the conditions continued to take their toll, as Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati suffered a similar fate to last race as he also lost control of his bike, putting an end to his first French race. Technomag-CIP-TSR’s Kenta Fujii repeated his morning warm-up crash, rounding out a less than ideal day for the Japanese rider.
With 18 laps to go, a five-some of Faubel, Salom, Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira and Viñales were involved in an entertaining battle for podium positions. In the following laps, further casualties of the weather were Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent, Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb, Ambrogio Next Racing’s Simone Grotzkyj and Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller, while Fenati’s teammate Alessandro Tonucci had to retire to the pits with a mechanical problem.
With 11 laps to go there was drama at the front as Faubel crashed out of first position, with Kornfeil crashing out of third a few seconds later, handing the first three places to Oliveira, Viñales and Rossi. Half a lap later, Salom followed suit as he slid off into the gravel in ever worsening conditions.
As a thrilling fight for fourth ensued between Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese and Khairuddin, there was further turmoil at the front, as the surging Oliveira crashed out of the lead, handing the reigns to Viñales, who was being hunted down by Rossi.
This lasted for a lap only, as Viñales threw himself of his bike in the final corner, followed shortly by Khairuddin. The Malaysian managed to keep his bike going, while the race was over for the Spaniard. This left Frenchman Rossi in the lead by over 20 seconds, much to the delight of the home crowd, with Cortese and Bankia Aspar’s Alberto Moncayo in podium positions. Three laps before the end Cortese lost the front going into the first chicane, yet managed to keep the bike going to re-join in sixth, with Oliveira’s teammate Alex Rins slipping into third with San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli on his tail.
In the end it was Rossi who made the Le Mans grandstands cheer with delight as he took his first ever victory by a margin of 28 seconds in front of Moncayo and Rins. Antonelli could not quite challenge for the podium finishing fourth, in front of Red Bull KTM Ajo duo of Arthur Sissis and Cortese and Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema.
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo delivered a master class in wet racing today to take a flawless victory in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Starting from fourth position on the second row, the determined Mallorcan took the lead on the first lap, immediately creating a gap to the following pack. Championship rival Casey Stoner attempted to make a small dent in the time to close Lorenzo down mid race however the race leader remained untouchable. Lorenzo crossed the finish line almost ten seconds clear to take the full 25 points and move eight points ahead at the top of the Championship standings.
Team mate Ben Spies continues to be plagued by bad luck; having made a good start the Texan slid on the start finish line paint, dropping several places. A subsequent issue with his race visor letting in water and reducing vision meant an unscheduled pit stop, allowing the majority of the field past and compromising his race. Spies finished 16th and remains 11th in the standings as they go to Catalunya in two weeks time.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position : 1st Time: 49’39.743
“It was really difficult to hold concentration today, in the dry it’s complicated but in the wet it’s even more. The race feels much longer and you have to remember where the corners are slippery every lap. If you forget one you can crash very easily. I started the race determined to be in first position from the beginning and managed to keep my concentration even when Casey was catching me. It would have been easy to push a bit more and make a mistake at that moment but I waited for a few more laps to see what happened then opened the gap again to win this fantastic race. A big thank you to my team who worked very hard in difficult conditions to make a set up that worked for me.”
Ben Spies / Position : 16th Time: 50’55.642
“That was a rough race. We actually got off to a good start at the beginning then had a very big moment on the line, something happened because then I had quite a lot of water coming in through my helmet and couldn’t see much on the first five laps. I hoped it would get better but I couldn’t see anything and decided to come in because I need to see where I am going. I knew the race was gone by then so went back out to try and get some data and get better working with the bike in the rain. Circumstances meant it wasn’t a good day.”
Wilco Zeelenberg / Team Manager
“A fantastic result, a great race and a good performance by Jorge. The bike looked very good as well; a lot of grip in the rear and changing direction very well. A big thank you to the team for hard work as in the morning we still weren’t there with what we wanted. We did have a lot of rear grip and the tyre heated up very quickly so we made use of that in the early part of the race, Jorge brought it home nicely!”
Massimo Meregalli / Team Director
“We were expecting a different race but unfortunately this bad luck doesn’t want to disappear. We’re looking forward to Barcelona, we won’t give up and we will get back up to where we belong with Ben. Jorge led a perfect race; he was incredible, especially considering circuit conditions. It’s important to take the Championship lead again so let’s see what we can do in two weeks time.”
— HRC Report
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a solid third-place finish in treacherous wet conditions at Le Mans today. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished one place behind the Australian. MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) rode to a heroic fifth-place finish, despite suffering the effects of a nasty tumble during yesterday’s qualifying session.
Stoner – who announced last Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the end of this year – looked like he might challenge race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) for the lead during the mid-stages of the race. After reducing the gap on his title rival he found he was unable to maintain his attacking pace once the track began to dry and his rear tyre overheated. During the final laps he came under pressure from Valentino Rossi (Ducati) who was able to sneak past into second place on the final lap.
After four rounds Stoner and Lorenzo have won two races each, but today’s result moves the Spaniard back into the title lead he had held following his success in last month’s season-opening Qatar GP. Eight points now separate the pair with 14 rounds still to go.
During the early laps Pedrosa suffered from a lack of temperature in the rear tyre – an issue that also hampered Stoner – and the Spaniard decided that this was one of those races in which it would be foolish to take too many risks. His decision paid dividends when Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso slid off in front of him, promoting him to fourth.
Moto2 World Champion Bradl had another impressive ride, scoring his best MotoGP result despite yesterday’s tumble. The German made a stunning start from 13th on the grid and spent much of the race chasing Pedrosa, then resisted pressure from Nicky Hayden (Ducati) during the later laps.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was not able to get comfortable in the conditions and opted to settle for a finish rather than risk a crash. He brought his RCV home in tenth place.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had an altogether tougher time on his Fireblade-powered CRT machine. He struggled with electronics issues and could only manage 14th place, a lap down on the winner.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) dominated the soaking Moto2 race, beating Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing – Kalex) by more than six seconds. The final podium place went to Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
There were plenty of tumbles in the 26-lap event, but Luthi rode a perfect race, running with the lead pack during the early stages as he waited for his rear tyre to warm up. He then moved into the lead at one-third distance, from where he built a comfortable three-second advantage. He looked safe in first position until he came under pressure from local Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi). The Frenchman was hoping to repeat the feat of compatriot Louis Rossi, who had won the earlier Moto3 race, but he overdid it with four laps to go, crashing out at the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane.
That took the pressure off Luthi who was delighted with his second Moto2 win, following on from his debut success in the class at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Corti also rode well, coming through from ninth on the grid to score his first Grand Prix podium result.
Redding’s determined ride to third place gave him his first podium since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) crossed the line in fourth place, the Italian dropping back after threatening Redding in the latter stages. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team –
Kalex) won a frantic battle for fifth, just beating lap-one leader Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP
Tuenti-Kalex) whose sixth-place finish moved him into the lead of the Honda-powered World Championship, just one point ahead of Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who was one of today’s fallers. Marquez slid off at the same corner that claimed Zarco while running fourth, just before half distance. Former GP winner Anthony West (QMMF Racing – Moriwaki) had his first points score of the year in seventh position.
Luthi’s dominant victory moves him to within two points of Marquez, who had won two of the first three races.
In the new Moto3 class local Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) won a fairytale victory. The 22-year-old from Le Mans survived the treacherous wet conditions to win by a remarkable 27 seconds after many of his rivals had fallen by the wayside. Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) made it two Honda-powered machines on the podium, the 16-year-old Spaniard finishing in third place, behind Alberto Moncayo (KTM).
Rossi had a charging race from 15th on the grid, the Frenchman keeping his head while many of his rivals lost theirs and fell in front of him.
Among the earlier leaders who crashed were Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda), who slid out of first place on laps 16 and 17.
Those two tumbles promoted Rossi to first place with eight laps to go.
Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) made it three Hondas in the top four, the 16-year-old Italian rookie fighting Rins for third place until he had a huge moment on the last lap that had him off the track and fighting for control. Antonelli regained the tarmac to score his best Grand Prix finish. Rins’ results was especially impressive since he fractured the little finger in his right hand when he crashed yesterday.
The MotoGP circus now returns southward for the Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya on June 1/2/3.
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I was pretty happy to hold on for a podium today. In the early stages Cal, Valentino and Dovi were behind me putting on a lot of pressure, but we managed to pull a small gap on them as I was chasing Jorge. Then as soon as the rain stopped and the track was less wet, our tyre temperatures got too high, we started spinning and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I thought the three of them would catch up and perhaps overtake me, but we managed to hold on for third. I enjoyed the battle with Valentino at the end, there was clean overtaking and we swapped positions a few times, but in the end we knew that Valentino had better pace than us and after he passed there was no way I could stay with him. We did everything we could today and to come away with a podium is a good result.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th
“I had no traction out of the corners, especially in first and second gear, and I wasn’t able to advance. We made a few changes to the configuration of the bike after warm-up, hoping to improve it a bit. In the end it was other way around, but these things can happen. In the race I immediately realised it was not my day, not a day to take risks and it was important to simply reach the best position. I was lucky – after the crashes of both Tech 3 Yamaha – to finish fourth. Wet races can be like this and today was just not our day. We lost many points to Lorenzo, but the Championship is very long and we will have our time. This race is over and we must now think towards Catalunya. I’m really looking forward to going there. It’s a circuit that motivates me a lot and I will have all my family and friends with me. The team is working very well, we have a good bike and we’ve been fast in every race, but we need to be determined. Let’s see if we can speed up a little and take our first win of the season in Catalunya.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th “This is a fantastic feeling! I am very happy and the whole team is happy too: this makes me very proud. Honestly I think nobody was expecting such a good result in my fourth race in this class. In general the weekend was tough because we were struggling a lot in finding the right set-up during the dry sessions and I also had a big crash in yesterday’s qualifying. Finally it rained before the race and I knew we had a good package for the wet. Already on my sighting lap I could feel that the bike was good and my first lap was amazing. After the first split I was in seventh. After that I rode behind Pedrosa for a long time. He has a very precise riding style and I learnt a lot from him. When it started to dry I could ride with more confidence, adapting to the situation even if Hayden was trying to catch me.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th
“I didn’t feel in tune with the bike and I couldn’t keep up with the group of riders ahead of me. The only option was to try and finish the race as best I could, and that is what I managed to do. I’m rather disappointed with how things went today.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th
“Unfortunately, this is the first time that I have been lapped in my life, and that left me feeling very bitter. The electronics didn’t help me at all, and without electronics things become very difficult in the wet. I just tried to take home the best result that I could, and I remain very disappointed.”
Moto2 rider quotes / Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: race winner
“It was a very difficult race. In the beginning it was important to find a good rhythm, but I was having many slides from the rear and I could see it was the same for Scott in front of me. Whenever I touched the throttle with any lean angle I lost the rear. It seemed like Pol didn’t have the same problem and he made a small gap. I thought, okay, settle down, bring in the tyre and then start to push. I found my rhythm, got into the lead and made a gap. But every lap was at the limit and halfway through the rain came again and Zarco was catching me fast. If he had passed me I would have had to let him go. But then he crashed and things became a little bit easier for me. I have to say thank you to the team. There’s a great spirit within our team and I think we’re only get stronger, which gives me a lot of motivation. Early in the race I had lots of slides from the rear, but I could see that the other guys couldn’t go any faster. So I tried to get into a rhythm, take the lead and make a gap, and it happened. This is an important day for the championship.”
Claudio Corti, Italtrans Racing – Kalex: 2nd
“I never go fast in the wet, so this result is unbelievable. I don’t like the rain and I don’t like this track, so this is very strange! In the beginning I was with many other riders, trying to keep my concentration. Then when De Angelis crashed and was sliding along in the middle of the track I lost a bit of concentration. After that I tried again and rode some good lap times, trying to catch the guys in front. Then when Zarco crashed in front of me I decided it was better to relax a bit and make sure of the podium.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex: 3rd
“We’ve been close all season after we made the gamble to switch to a Kalex chassis. We were close in Qatar, and then I messed up at Estoril. I’ve been trying to get the balance right, trying to calm myself down because I’ve been riding too aggressively. I’ve definitely calmed down a bit and I’m still going fast so that’s good. It took time for my rear tyre to come in – I was losing the rear every time I touched the gas. It took time for the tyre to come in. After that I was focused on not making any mistakes. Today it was all about being smooth and consistent.”
Moto3 Rider Quotes Louis Rossi, Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda: race winner
“The conditions were horrible, but finally the race had a very nice end for me! To win here, in my home country, in my home town is incredible. I think I need some time to go back to my box and think about what has happened! The race was so long and the last seven laps were so hard. I was trying not to make mistakes and I was talking to myself, telling myself to keep concentrated. I was trying to brake at the same points and give gas at the same points, but with a little more safety. This was the first time in a long time that I’ve led a race! It will be different in the dry. We need to work some more if we are to be able to score podiums in dry conditions.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda: 3rd
“I still don’t believe I got a podium! It was an unexpected result because we started from 26th on the grid. I went into the race with the aim of enjoying myself and doing my best. Many riders crashed and this allowed me to move up a few positions which motivated me even more. And finally I finished third which is a great result. My injured right hand didn’t bother me much. Before the race I had some painkilling medication, so I was able to ride without many problems.”
— Ducati Report
Valentino Rossi was a protagonist in an exciting, hard-fought race in wet conditions during the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, where he climbed from the third row of the grid to the second step of the podium. Nicky Hayden, despite an unfortunate start, worked his way up to sixth by the finish.
Having started from seventh place, the Italian advanced to third by lap three, at which point Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow joined him in a long battle. He picked up his pace around seven laps from the end, eventually setting the fastest lap of the race and closing the gap to Casey Stoner, who he overtook on the final lap. His runner-up finish behind winner Jorge Lorenzo is his best result with Ducati so far.
Hayden was among the riders who spun their tyres on the inside part of the track just after the start, but he pushed hard the entire race, eventually matching his best result of the year.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 2nd
“I’m really, really happy. We knew we had a special opportunity in the wet today, so I tried to ride perfectly and not throw it away. I started well and immediately made up some positions, and then I passed the two Yamahas to get behind Stoner. I was able to match his pace, but then my visor started to fog and I had to slow down for a couple of laps until I was able to clear it by lifting it a little. Once I could see again, I re-passed Cal and then Dovi. When I realized that I could really push hard and that it was possible to catch Stoner again, I went for it. It was a great race and a nice, fun battle with Stoner to the last lap. I enjoyed myself and I’m happy for my team and all the guys at Ducati, who are working so hard for me. Now we must continue giving our all until we’re also able to be competitive in the dry. We found a good base to work from in Portugal, and it wasn’t bad in the dry here, either, although not as good as in the wet. Now our main goal is to take another step forward and make up some more tenths.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th
“There must have been something on the inside of the track just after the start, because everybody that went on that side either crashed or almost did. My jump was really good, and then just as I was ready to go to second gear, the tyre completely broke loose and the bike started fishtailing. I got buried in the pack and couldn’t see for the first few laps. Once I got through some guys and had a clear track, my rhythm wasn’t too bad. I was bringing Bradl and Pedrosa back a bit, but when I got it down to two seconds, I almost crashed and had to try again. I got to Bradl’s wheel at the end but just couldn’t do anything. It’s frustrating because we’ve got a really good wet bike. I know we had more potential than sixth, but the start hurt me. Congratulations to the team for the podium. They certainly deserve it.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“We’re very pleased with Valentino’s podium, which is of course down to his beautiful race, although it also reflects the great job done by the team over the weekend. It’s also a thank-you to everyone back home who has worked so hard to solve our problems, which we’re overcoming little by little, although we still need to work on them some more. We’ve worked on the chassis well, and now we’ll focus on other important areas of the bike. Today Vale was in a situation where he could ride as he’s capable of doing, and he gave us a great show. It’s a shame for Nicky, who could have also fought for a better position if it weren’t for his bad start. Despite riding at a good pace, he wasn’t able to climb higher than sixth place. Anyway, Nicky showed that he, like Vale and everyone at Ducati, never gives up.”
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 16-19°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo was unstoppable on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 today as he dominated in a wet French MotoGP™ to claim his second win of the season.
Lorenzo started brilliantly from fourth on the grid to seize the race lead in the opening lap after which he streaked away to cross the finish line ten seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. In second place and on the podium at Le Mans for the second successive year was Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, the Italian coming on strong towards the end of the race to pass Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner who rounded out the podium in third place. The top CRT rider at Le Mans was Paul Bird Motorsport pilot James Ellison who rode a determined race to finish 11th.
With a wet track and very cool temperatures for the race, all riders chose the soft wet compound for the rear and all but one rider selected the soft compound wet for the front to ensure maximum warm-up performance and initial grip. The rain eased off during the race reducing the amount of standing water on track, though the soft compound wet tyres suffered very little degradation with the majority of riders setting their personal best times in the latter stages of the race.
Jorge Lorenzo’s victory lifts him to the top of the MotoGP™ championship standings with an eight point advantage over Casey Stoner, with Dani Pedrosa a further 17 points back in third position.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Today we saw a thrilling race and I commend Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha for their very strong performance today. The track for the race was very cold and wet and grip levels varied greatly from lap to lap and corner to corner creating very difficult conditions for all the riders, so I am pleased with how our wet tyres performed over the duration of the race as lap times were quite stable and improved towards the end of the race.
“Apart from the spectacular race today, we had some other big news this weekend with Casey Stoner announcing his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the season. We’ve enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Casey who brought us our first world championship and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all he has given to MotoGP and Bridgestone and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season and the next chapter in his life after racing.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s wet and very cool conditions made this morning’s warm-up session very important for teams to find a good setup for the race. Almost every rider selected the soft compound wet tyres front and rear and this combination worked very well in a race where the level of water on the circuit changed substantially. For this race weekend, all our 2012 specification tyres performed very well at Le Mans and provided an effective option for riders in the variable weather conditions.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Today was a very hard race and the conditions were difficult, especially at the beginning of the race. The whole race was a challenge in the wet conditions and when Casey was trying to catch me I had to work really hard to keep my concentration. I am very happy to take this victory and I want to thank my team and my fans for all their support.”