MotoGP 2017 – Round Five – Le Mans – Grand Prix de France
Official statistics compiled by Dr. Martin Raines – HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France
Grand Prix racing at Le Mans
Le Mans has hosted a grand prix event on twenty-nine previous occasions, including the Grand Prix “Vitesse du Mans” in 1991, which is the only year that two grand prix events have been held in France in the same year.
Le Mans was first used for a Grand Prix event in 1969, when the 500cc race was won by Giacomo Agostini on an MV Agusta as he lapped all the other riders in the race.
This is the 18th successive year that the Le Mans circuit has hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix event, starting in 2000.
In addition to Le Mans, there have been seven other circuits that have hosted the French GP: Paul Ricard (13 times), Clermont-Ferrand (10), Nogaro (2), Reims (2), Rouen (2), Albi (1), Magny-Cours (1).
Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP formula in 2002, Honda have had seven wins at Le Mans, the last of which was three years ago with Marc Marquez.
Yamaha have also had seven MotoGP wins at Le Mans, including for the last two years with Jorge Lorenzo.
Last year at Le Mans, Lorenzo crossed the line 10.654 seconds ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi – Lorenzo’s largest margin of victory in a dry MotoGP race.
Chris Vermeulen took his single MotoGP win at Le Mans in 2007 riding a Suzuki. Prior to Maverick Viñales winning at Silverstone last year, this was the only GP victory in the four-stroke MotoGP era for the Hamamatsu factory. Viñales finished third at Le Mans last year, which was the first MotoGP podium for Suzuki since Loris Capirossi was third at Brno in 2008.
The best results for Ducati at the Le Mans circuit are second place finishes for Loris Capirossi in 2006 and Valentino Rossi in 2012.
The only non-Spanish rider to win a MotoGP race at Le Mans in the past eight years is Casey Stoner, in 2011.
There have been five GP wins by French riders at the Le Mans circuit: Jean Aureal won the 125cc race in 1969, Guy Bertin the 125cc race in 1979, Patrick Fernandez the 350cc race in 1979, Mike di Meglio the 125cc race in 2008 and Louis Rossi the Moto3 race in 2012.
The best result by a French rider at Le Mans in the MotoGP class is 4th by Olivier Jacque in 2003. French riders twice finished on the podium in the 500cc GP class at Le Mans; Raymond Roche was second in 1985 and Christian Sarron third in 1987.
Of the fifteen MotoGP races held at Le Mans, nine have either started in wet conditions or have been rained on during the race. The only years that the MotoGP race at Le Mans has been run under full dry conditions are: 2004, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The seven Moto2 races that have taken place at Le Mans have been won by six different riders: Toni Elias, Marc Marquez, Tom Lüthi, Scott Redding, Mika Kallio and Alex Rins. The only rider to have more than a single Moto2 win at Le Mans is Tom Lüthi, who is also the only previous Moto2 winner at Le Mans still competing in the class.
None of the seven previous Moto2 races at Le Mans have been won by the rider starting on pole position.
The five Moto3 races that have taken place at Le Mans have been won by five different riders: Louis Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Jack Miller, Romano Fenati and Brad Binder. The only one of these victories not on a KTM machine was the win by Louis Rossi in 2012, when the Frenchman was riding an FTR Honda.
Long winning career for Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa’s first win of 2017 at the Spanish Grand Prix came just seven days short of 11 years after winning his first MotoGP race in China in 2006.
With the win in Jerez, Pedrosa moves above Loris Capirossi into fifth place on the following list of riders with the longest winning careers in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
If Pedrosa wins in Le Mans, the length of his winning career in the premier-class will be exactly the same as Grand Prix Legend Giacomo Agostini.
Rider / First GP win / Last GP win / Length of winning GP career
Valentino Rossi / Great Britain 2000 / Catalunya 2016 / 15 years 332 days
Alex Barros / FIM 1993 / Portugal 2005 / 11 years 204 days
Phil Read / Ulster 1964 / Czech 1975 / 11 years 16 days
Giacomo Agostini / Finland 1965 / West Germany 1976 / 11 years 7 days
Dani Pedrosa / China 2006 / Spain 2017 / 10 years 358 days
Loris Capirossi / Australia 1996 / Japan 2007 / 10 years 338 days
Jorge Lorenzo / Portugal 2008 / Valencia 2016 / 8 years 214 days
Eddie Lawson / South Africa 1984 / Hungary 1992 / 8 years 110 days
Mick Doohan / Hungary 1990 / Argentina 1998 / 8 years 53 days
Geoff Duke / Isle of Man TT 1950 / Sweden 1958 / 8 years 48 days
Milestone win for Dani Pedrosa
In addition to extending his winning career as detailed above, Dani Pedrosa’s win was significant in other ways
2017 is the 16th successive season that Pedrosa has taken at least one Grand Prix win across the three classes. This takes the record as the longest sequence of successive years that a rider has achieved at least one grand prix victory.
He has won at least one race in the MotoGP class every year for twelve successive seasons. The only other rider to have achieved this in the premier-class is Giacomo Agostini, who won at least one 500cc GP race for 12 successive seasons – from 1965 to 1976 inclusive.
Pedrosa’s win at Misano was the 53rd time he has stood on the top step of the podium in Grand Prix racing, moving above Phil Read in the all-time winners list. Pedrosa now needs one more win to equal the career wins of Mick Doohan.
This was Pedrosa’s first win on Spanish soil since he won at Jerez in 2013, which was also the last time that he won one of the opening four races of the year.
This was the 30th time that Pedrosa had been on the top step of the podium in the MotoGP class, the same number of MotoGP victories as teammate Marc Marquez.
This was the 146th time that Pedrosa has stood on a podium across all classes, the same number of podium finishes as great rival Jorge Lorenzo has achieved so far after also finishing on the podium at Jerez.
Following on from the third place finish he achieved in Austin, these were the first back-to-back podium finishes for Pedrosa since the final two races of 2015 in Malaysia and Valencia.
Pedrosa has scored 52 points from the opening four races of the year, which is his best start to the season since 2014.
French MotoGP challenge
Arriving at Le Mans for the fifth Grand Prix event of 2017, the French representation in the MotoGP class is healthier than it has been for several years
Johann Zarco is the top rookie in the MotoGP Championship classification in sixth place, and also the top Independent Team rider in the standings.
Zarco has the highest point score by a French rider after four races since Randy de Puniet had 36 points after the opening four races of 2010.
In the MotoGP era, starting in 2002, only six rookies have scored more points than Zarco over the opening four races of the year: 2002 – Daijiro Kato, 2003 – Troy Bayliss, 2006 – Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, 2008 – Jorge Lorenzo and 2013 – Marc Marquez.
Zarco is the first French rider since Regis Laconi in 1999 to score three successive top five finishes in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
Johann Zarco and Loris Baz between them have scored 47 points so far in 2017, which is already – after just four races – the highest single season points total by French riders in the MotoGP class since 2012.
Zarco and Baz will be joined at Le Mans by 2014 WorldSBK Champion and former MotoGP rider Sylvain Guintoli, who is substituting for the injured Alex Rins on the factory Suzuki. This is the first time since the Italian Grand Prix in 2007 that three French riders will line up on the grid for a MotoGP race; on that occasion it was Randy de Puniet, Sylvain Guintoli and Olivier Jacque, who was making his final Grand Prix appearance.
The last time that three French riders lined up on the grid for a MotoGP race at Le Mans was in 2002, when Regis Laconi, Jean-Michel Bayle and Olivier Jacque all started.
Le Mans MotoGP Facts and Stats
Only four riders have scored points in all four of the MotoGP races in 2017: Valentino Rossi, Jonas Folger, Scott Redding and Hector Barbera.
The Spanish Grand Prix resulted in the first Honda one-two since the German Grand Prix last year, when Marc Marquez won from Cal Crutchlow.
With Marc Marquez following Dani Pedrosa across the line at Jerez it was the first time since the German Grand Prix in 2015 that these two teammates have taken the top two places in a MotoGP race.
The first three riders across the line in Jerez were Spanish, the first all Spanish podium in the MotoGP class since Jorge Lorenzo won at Valencia in 2015 from Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
The Spanish Grand Prix was the 16th all Spanish podium in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing, fifteen of which have been the when Marquez, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have been together on the podium. Only three nations have filled all three podium places in the premier-class of grand prix racing more often than Spain; Italy – 17 times, Great Britain – 23 times and USA – 24 times.
Following his win in Jerez, Dani Pedrosa will be aiming for back-to-back victories for the first time since he won at Jerez and Le Mans in 2013.
If Dani Pedrosa wins in France he will become the second oldest rider, after Loris Capirossi, to win back-to-back races in the MotoGP era.
Jorge Lorenzo is the rider with the most Grand Prix victories at Le Mans, having stood on the top step of the podium on six occasions at the French circuit; a single win in the 250cc class to add to his five MotoGP wins.
At the Spanish Grand Prix Jorge Lorenzo finished on the podium for the first time on a Ducati. This was the first podium finish for Ducati at the circuit since Nicky Hayden was third in 2011.
There were no Yamaha riders on the podium in the MotoGP race at Jerez; the first time that this has happened there since 2006.
Following the Spanish Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi heads the Championship table with 62 points. This is the lowest points total for the rider leading the premier-class Championship after four races since the current scoring system was introduced in 1993. Rossi is also the first rider to head the MotoGP standings after four rounds without winning a race since Nicky Hayden in 2006.
Arón Canet takes his first Moto3 win
Arón Canet’s victory in Jerez places him sixth in the following list of youngest riders to have won in the Moto3 class since its introduction in 2012.
Rider / First Moto3 Win / Age
Romano Fenati Jerez/2012 16 years 105 days
Maverick Viñales Qatar/2012 17 years 87 days
Álex Rins Americas/2013 17 years 134 days
Álex Márquez Japan/2013 17 years 187 days
Khairul Idam Pawi Argentina/2016 17 years 196 days
Arón Canet Spain/2017 17 years 219 days
Enea Bastianini Misano/2015 17 years 257 days
Livio Loi Indianapolis/2015 18 years 104 days
Danny Kent Motegi/2012 18 years 324 days
Joan Mir Austria/2016 18 years 348 days
If Canet wins in France, he will become the second youngest rider to win back-to-back Moto3 races, after Maverick Viñales (17 years 157 days, Catalunya/Great Britain/2012).
Moto3 Facts and Stats
Arón Canet’s win in Jerez was his second podium finish. He became the eighth Spanish rider to win in Moto3. This is the 37th win of a Spanish rider. He crossed the line in fourth in Le Mans last year from third on the grid; his second best result of his rookie year with his third place finish in Phillip Island.
In Jerez, Romano Fenati became the first rider to score more than 700 Moto3 World Championship points, on 719.
Fenati won in Le Mans in 2015 and crossed the line in second last year. Alongside Enea Bastianini (second in 2015), he is one of only two riders on the current Moto3 grid to have stood on the podium at this track in Moto3.
Joan Mir finished third in Jerez, his sixth podium finish in 23 grand prix starts. He finished in 25th in Le Mans last year after making a jump-start and receiving a ride through penalty.
Mir, Fenati, Jorge Martín and Andrea Migno are the only riders who have scored points in all four of the Moto3 races in 2017.
Niccolò Antonelli qualified on pole position last year in Le Mans; the last time that he started on pole.
Danny Kent will be wildcard in Le Mans for Red Bull KTM Ajo. A fourth place is his best result on that track in 2015 when he qualified in 31th (from his free practice times) after being surprised by the rain during the qualifying session.
This is the first time since 2015 that Honda has won the four opening Moto3 races of a season. That year, the Japanese manufacturer got their as yet only constructor’s title in the class.
This is the first time since the introduction of the category in 2012 that there has been no KTM on the podium in four successive races.
Louis Rossi, in 2012, is the last French rider to have won the French Grand Prix in the lightweight category.
Moto2 Facts and Stats
In Jerez, Alex Marquez won his first Moto2 race after 39 starts. He became the 30th Moto2 winner and the ninth Spanish rider to achieve this feat.
Championship leader Franco Morbidelli didn’t cross the line in Jerez for the first time since Sachsenring last year, when he crashed twice during the race in wet conditions.
Francesco Bagnaia finished second in Jerez in what was his fourth Moto2 race, becoming the ninth Italian rider to stand on the podium in the class.
In the Moto2 era, starting in 2010, only four rookies have scored more points than Bagnaia (33 points) over the opening four races of the year: 2014 – Maverick Viñales (49), 2015 – Álex Rins (49), 2010 – Sergio Gadea (46) and Andrea Iannone (38).
In Jerez, Miguel Oliveira stood on the podium for the second time this year. He finished ninth in Le Mans last year from 14th on the grid, his best result at that time during his rookie year.
Tom Lüthi, Miguel Oliveira, Luca Marini and Dominique Aegerter are the only riders who have scored points in all four of the Moto2 races in 2017.
Lüthi has won twice in Le Mans in the Moto2 class. With Simone Corsi and Xavier Siméon, he is the only rider on the current grid to have stood on the podium at the track in Moto2.
Fourth across the line in Jerez, Mattia Pasini equalled his best Moto2 result. At Le Mans he will be aiming to get his first podium finish in 85 Moto2 starts.
Luca Marini crossed the line in fifth in Jerez, his best result so far in Moto2. He finished 12th in Le Mans last year, from tenth on the grid.
Jean-Louis Tournadre in 1982 is the last French rider to have won in the intermediate-class at the French Grand Prix. That race was boycotted by top riders due insufficient safety measures.
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