2016 Le Mans Saturday Round Up: Pedrosa Again, Tires, & Qualifying Strategies

The report last night that Dani Pedrosa will replace Jorge Lorenzo in the Movistar Yamaha garage had a devastating effect on the paddock on Saturday. It provoked an almost universal panic among everyone peripheral to the decision. Maverick Viñales' manager Paco Sanchez – strictly speaking, the lawyer who is helping Viñales with his contract negotiations, as Viñales is managing himself – was interviewed by every television broadcaster in the MotoGP paddock, along with nearly every radio station and most journalists. Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo and Movistar Yamaha team director Maio Meregalli did pretty much the same, answering the same questions over and over. It was Silly Season at its most frenetic.

As an example, the Spanish sports daily – Spanish journalists are chasing this story hardest, as they have the most at stake – AS featured the following vignette on its website. Reporter Mela Chercoles walked past Albert Valera, manager of Jorge Lorenzo, Aleix Espargaro and others, and heard him berating Alex Salas, assistant to Maverick Viñales. "Tell me that Maverick won't let the Yamaha train get away from him," Chercoles reports Valera as saying. The sense of disbelief in the paddock is huge.

2016 Le Mans Moto2 & Moto3 Post-Qualifying Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Le Mans:

Brad Binder takes spot on front row for French GP

World Championship leader sets second fastest time in very close qualifying session, in which Bo Bendsneyder goes less than one second off pole in 21st.

05/07/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France

2016 Le Mans Moto2 FP3 Result: Luthi Edges Zarco

Tom Luthi has topped the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class. The Swiss rider took over at the top early, then held on to his advantage all the way to the end of the session. Johann Zarco got close to Luthi, but the Frenchman could never quite find the final three hundredths of a second to beat the Interwetten man, having to settle for second spot.

2016 Le Mans Friday Round Up: On Tires, Winglets, and Pedrosa Going to Yamaha

They say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. There are also two certainties in MotoGP so far this year: at every race, Michelin will introduce yet another new tire, and the Ducati Desmosedici GP will sprout a new set of wings. For Le Mans, Michelin brought a new rear tire, with a slightly softer construction but identical compounds, to try to generate a little more grip and address rider complaints about the rear spinning without creating drive, even in high gears. The new wings on the Ducati were much larger than the previous versions, to perhaps address the need for drive out of the many first gear corners at Le Mans.

Michelin bringing yet another tire to another race may sound like they are still flailing around, but in reality, it is a sign that the French tire maker is starting to settle on a development direction, after their plans had been sent astray by the double Ducati disasters of Loris Baz and Scott Redding. The rear tire raced at Austin and Jerez was the so-called "safety tire", a construction Michelin was certain would make race distance without any nasty surprises. It was raced without any real testing, meant only as a back up, not seriously intended for competition.

2016 Le Mans Moto2 FP2 Result: Zarco Edges Luthi and Folger

Johann Zarco has taken charge of his home round of Moto2, the reigning champion upping the pace at the end of the afternoon to top the timesheets at Le Mans. The Frenchman just sneaked ahead of Tom Luthi, the Swiss rider having a good first day in Le Mans. Jonas Folger grabbed third spot, the last of the riders to finish close to Zarco, while others struggled.

2016 Le Mans Moto2 FP1 Result: Corsi Impresses, Leads Rins and Folger

Simone Corsi put in an impressive charge to top the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class. The Speed Up rider took advantage of the cooler conditions, which suit the Italian-made bike, to just edge Alex Rins on the HP 40 Kalex. Jonas Folger ended the session in third, a tenth off the pace of Corse, and fractionally faster than Tom Luthi, who finished in fourth. Lorenzo Baldassari took fifth spot, just ahead of reigning world champion Johann Zarco. The Frenchman was under a third of a second slower than Corsi at his home round.



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