Le Mans Saturday MotoGP Round Up: Strategy, Luck, Gambling, And Lorenzo And Zarco Finding Speed

Typical Le Mans weather is what we have had so far at the French circuit. Yesterday was glorious, sunny and dry. Saturday was overcast, gloomy, with a very light rain falling for most of the day. Track conditions were changing continuously, especially during qualifying, the track drying out quickly when it briefly stopped raining, before becoming much wetter in a matter of minutes once it started again.

The fickle track conditions made life very difficult for everyone in MotoGP. The only session with consistent conditions was FP3, when it was wet for all of the session. The amount of water on the track changed drastically during FP4, so a majority of the riders decided to sit out most of the session, only taking to the track in the last ten minutes or so to get a feel for the track ahead of qualifying. But by this time, it was clear that qualifying would be something of a gamble.

The form that gamble would take turned out to be poker. In Q1, some riders raised the stakes, some bluffed, and some folded. That process repeated in Q2, the 12 riders entering the second session examining their cards before trying to find the best way to play them. The cards in play were whether to choose slicks or wets, whether to use the soft of the medium compound wet tire, and the ever-changing track surface as the rain disappeared then returned.

Poker face

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2019 Le Mans MotoGP FP4 Result: Marquez’s Gravel To Glory Routine

If the not-wet-enough not-dry-enough surface did not convince premier class riders to stick to the comfort of their garage, Marc Marquez’s early tumble on slicks definitely sent that message. If the master of changing conditions wasn’t too keen, everyone else took their time before properly sampling the conditions.

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2019 Le Mans Moto2 FP3 Result: Odendaal Times It Right

The rain that drizzled all throughout the morning faded as the intermediate class took to the track and the surface dried to the point that slicks were a tempting option, splitting the timesheets between those who did and those who didn’t. Steven Odendaal definitely did and led the way by a mere three hundredths of a second from Augusto Fernandez. Dominique Aegerter was another name that had been missing from the business end this season and slicks helped him finally make an appearance in third spot.

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