Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after an exhilarating French Grand Prix in Le Mans:
Sublime win for Pedrosa and incredible comeback for Marquez to 3rd
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez stormed to their third successive double podium of 2013 in tough wet conditions at the GP of France.
Dani, starting from 6th, performed his trademark lightning fast start and was up to 3rd by the first corner. He managed to pass Lorenzo on lap three and then had an intense battle with Dovizioso, swapping the lead, for eleven laps but finally passed him on lap fourteen and began to open up a gap and control the race. Teammate Marc, starting from pole, had a bad start and found himself down in 8th after the first lap. However, he used the opportunity to learn about racing a MotoGP bike in the wet and gradually made his way through the pack. After passing Lorenzo, Bradl crashed out and Rossi made a mistake which promoted him to 5th on lap 18. He then chased down Hayden and Dovizioso to claim a remarkable podium in very difficult conditions.
With this victory, Dani has now won eight of the last twelve races and equals Wayne Rainey and Jorge Lorenzo in all time MotoGP class victories with 24. He has scored a total of 3011 points across all three classes during his grand prix career and becomes only the third rider ever to pass the milestone of 3000 grand prix points, after Rossi (with a current total of 4604 career points) and Capirossi (3215 career points).
Dani now leads the Rider's World Championship standings with 83 points and Marc is second on 77 points. Honda increase the lead in the Constructor's Championship with 91 points to Yamaha's 77 and the Repsol Honda Team lead the Team Championship with 160 points, 47 ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing.
Dani Pedrosa 1st Championship Standing: 1st - 83 points
"I'm very happy, because I have earned an important victory. I've been trying to win at this circuit for many years in MotoGP and it has always been a tough track for me. Today, the moment finally arrived, when I least expected it, and it is immensely satisfying. Conditions here are usually against me, because it is cold and I don't like riding in these temperatures, but today I got the best out of myself. The bike was also good, above all on the opening laps when the track was very wet. I made a few mistakes but I was able to recover from them, maintain the advantage and win the race. I'd like to thank all my team and also my supporters!"
Marc Marquez 3rd Championship Standing: 2nd - 77 points
"This podium almost counts as a win as it was my first wet race in MotoGP and I wasn't expecting to finish in the top three. Also, bearing in mind that I had dropped quite far back from the front, third place and 16 points is an important achievement for the World Championship. We can say that this was a very good weekend; we had a good setting for the dry, but when it rained it was up to me to learn from the mistakes that I made at the start of the race. I need to improve, because I was finding it hard to ride with water on the track. It will be difficult to maintain our performance at Mugello, but we will go there and try 100%. I congratulate Dani on great race and victory and I'd like to thank the whole team!"
Lorenzo and Rossi Endure a Race of Attrition in Le Mans
Le Mans (France), 19th May 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi endured a nightmare race today in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Having enjoyed a dry track for both practice and qualifying the riders had to contend with full wet conditions to start today’s race.
Lorenzo started from second on the grid and was able to hold behind race leader Andrea Dovizioso initially until passed by Dani Pedrosa with 26 laps to go. As the laps wound down the reigning World Champion gradually dropped position, fighting a wet but slowly drying track with a less than optimum set up. Lorenzo eventually crossed the line in seventh place to claim nine Championship points that keep him in third position in the overall standings.
Rossi made a strong start from eighth on the grid and had moved up to fourth position by the second lap after some swift passes. The Italian was able to find a good race pace and was able to hold on in fourth with the potential to fight for the podium until a strange low side crash with 11 laps remaining of the race. Ross remounted and re-joined, nursing his damaged M1 home in 12th position to take four Championship points and sit in fifth in the overall standings.
7th / +27.961 / 28 laps
“In the beginning of the race the bike was not the same as warm up but not so bad and I could follow Andrea and Dani. I was losing a lot in some areas of the track but recovering in others. Then after three or four laps the bike got worse and I got problems everywhere. In the braking because in the middle of the corner I didn't trust the rear tyre and in acceleration because the rear was spinning so much I lost nearly half a second compared to the others. Races are like this sometimes; last year I won by 20 seconds with a very good bike and this year was completely the opposite. I couldn't do much more without crashing.”
12th / +1'16.368 / 28 laps
“Unfortunately we lost a good chance to get a good result today, I think we had the potential to arrive with the first three and arrive on the podium. I had a good pace and I was fast and I could fight with the other guys. In that corner, I didn't arrive too fast and didn't feel any mistake but I felt a bump and lost the front, so it's a pity because we lose points and especially the chance to try to make a good podium here. Anyway, it can happen and the important thing is that today we were fast so we will see next week.”
“A very difficult race. Finally Jorge was missing a lot of feeling on corner entry and little feeling with the tyres so no confidence to lean the bike. If you don't feel safe and the bike slides then it’s difficult to finish races like this. We will concentrate on what the problem is because we can’t give an answer now. The most important thing today was not to crash. To lose a lot of points is of course a drama, so we need to focus now and catch up for the rest of the season.”
“Unfortunately it has been a race under our estimation. We have been very competitive up to the race in every condition, dry and wet; unfortunately we missed the most important part of the weekend. We lost a potential podium with Valentino after a great start to the race with some good overtakes. We are still checking Jorge’s data to really understand what didn’t work. It is almost impossible to judge what it is at this point but we will know more soon. This weekend is now done so we will now focus to prepare for our ‘home’ race in the best way possible.”
Convincing top-five finishes for Dovizioso, Hayden in French GP
Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden turned in strong performances in unpredictable race conditions in the French GP, taking their Desmosedici GP13 machines to fourth and fifth place, respectively.
With the MotoGP riders having gone almost the entire race weekend at Le Mans with no wet riding, a light rain began falling shortly before the start, only to relent about mid-distance, creating the conditions for an exciting and eventful race. Dovizioso grabbed the top spot from the front row, and he led eight laps in the early going, fending off eventual winner Dani Pedrosa for some time before finally conceding the lead position. On a steadily drying track surface, the Italian began losing grip in the latter stages, but although he slipped out of podium contention with just two laps remaining, he was pleased to have ridden a steady and intelligent race for his best result of the season so far.
The same was true of Hayden, who had shrugged off a fourth-row starting position to advance to sixth place on lap one. The American ran as high as fourth before eventually slipping one spot near the end.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 4th
“It’s always nice to be at the front of the pack! I’m really happy with my feeling with the bike, and as long as the tyres were decent, I was able to manage the situation well. Dani had more than I did, but I was still able to keep a good pace. We had good grip, which helped us to have a nice race, but as the track dried, the tyres began wearing a lot. I couldn’t keep the pace in the last six or seven laps, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the podium. I’m sorry for the team about that, but we had a positive weekend in all aspects, even in the dry.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 5th
“Rain races are tough, especially when you don’t have much time to set up the bike! I got a great start and picked up some positions in the first few corners. I didn’t feel great at first, but I began to improve and was closing on the lead group when they were battling with each other. I really enjoyed that, especially when the track was pretty wet. Things got more difficult as it dried, but I was hanging in there. I was looking for a way past Rossi, and when he crashed, I picked it up and ran wide. I put my head down and tried to close the gap, but I made a mistake, and after Marquez got by, I just tried to stay up and get to the finish. Top-five is our best result of the season, but for a while, I thought I had a possibility to do something really good. Still, there were moments this weekend when we showed more potential than we have all year, and I’m really looking forward to Mugello.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“We head home from Le Mans with some positive feelings. Both Andrea and Nicky had good races, and it was nice to see the Ducati at the front in a GP again, and fighting for the top positions for the entire race. This circuit is certainly suited to our bike’s characteristics, but it was also easy to make mistakes in the wet conditions that began drying toward the end, so we have to be satisfied with the result. Our team really worked well this weekend, so I want to thank not just the riders, but also our technicians and engineers, as well as the guys from Ducati Corse in Bologna, for all of their efforts.”
Crutchlow claims heroic career best result in Le Mans
Cal Crutchlow produced the ride of his MotoGP career in Le Mans today to claim a heroic podium in the home race of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
Just 24 hours after a heavy practice crash left him with a fracture in his right leg, the British rider showed amazing skill, concentration and courage to finish second in a 28-lap race run in the toughest conditions imaginable.
Crutchlow was the lead Yamaha rider home at the end of a race that started on a perilously slippery and wet surface after heavy rain fell in the build-up. Visibility and calculating grip levels were major early challenges but Crutchlow quickly gained his confidence and he sliced through the field with some outstanding overtakes.
The 27-year-old stormed through from seventh to second with measured moves on reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, an impressive feat considering how tough it was to master constantly changing conditions and grip levels on a rapidly drying track.
Crutchlow’s career best MotoGP result and first rostrum of 2013 was secured on lap 24 when he attacked former Tech 3 teammate Dovizioso and today’s outstanding performance moved the former World Supersport Champion into fourth place in the World Championship standings with four of 18 rounds completed.
A career best MotoGP result to date was also being hailed on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage after Bradley Smith raced his YZR-M1 to a determined ninth position.
The slippery track surface had an immediate impact on Smith’s race. He suffered a big rear tyre slide while accelerating off the line and it was only the lightning reflexes of the 22-year-old that saved him from a fall.
He dropped right to the back of the field but despite only having very limited experience of the YZR-M1 in wet conditions, Smith’s recent attempts to smoothen his riding style proved vital this afternoon.
Smith quickly established a fast rhythm and as his confidence grew he was able to deliver a fantastic fight back into the top 10. His rousing recovery to ninth moves him to the brink of the top 10 in the World Championship classification on 17 points.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd- 55 points:
“I’m really happy to get my best ever result in MotoGP and the whole team did an incredible job and deserves this result. We showed our fast pace in the dry, we showed our pace in the wet and I think everybody is aware we are not here through luck. It’s even better and more important because this is the home race for Tech 3 and Monster Energy sponsors the event. So to be the best and only Yamaha on the podium feels really good. My start was not the best and it took me a bit of time to get temperature into the tyres. But once I managed that I felt really comfortable. When I saw Andrea and Dani opening a small gap to Valentino I had to make a move because I was afraid they would be too far ahead to try and catch later in the race. And when I saw Marquez recovering time on my pit board I had to pass Andrea otherwise he might have caught both of us during the last laps. I’m really happy with how things went, especially after the crash yesterday. The wet track obviously put less stress on my body but it was tough riding injured in such tough conditions. From now on I just hope we can be injury free and go to Mugello to put on the same show as we did here today.”
Bradley Smith 9th – 17 points:
“Today was a really good learning experience. I’d hardly ridden the YZR-M1 in the rain before, so to get 28 laps under my belt in really tricky conditions was obviously an experience that taught me a lot. During the race I was able to ride a lot smoother and I hope I can carry over something from this experience to the dry in the future. I’m a little bit disappointed with the start of the race. I had a problem with the clutch in the warm up but we were sure it was just because this was my first start in the wet but apparently it was not. But after the first 10 laps to the end of the race I had a very good pace and I’m happy with the improvement made during the whole weekend with ninth position in qualifying and also ninth in the race. That’s my best MotoGP result and gives my confidence another lift, so now I’m really looking forward to going to Mugello, which is a track I can’t wait to ride a MotoGP bike on. Congratulations also to Cal. He rode an awesome race and in an important race for Tech 3 and Monster Energy it was great to see both of us having such a positive result.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“That was a very special race for everybody connected to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Seeing Cal get a fantastic second place in France and with Monster Energy a title sponsor of the event is incredible because there is always quite a lot of pressure on us to perform. I remember in similar conditions last year both of our guys were fighting for the podium but ended up in the gravel, so I did not feel too comfortable before the start of the race. It has not been an easy weekend with the weather conditions and Cal’s big crash from yesterday, and we even had some doubt that he would be able to participate in qualifying but he did a great job. It was easy to make a mistake in those very difficult conditions but the way he cut through the field gave Tech 3 fans a lot to cheer in the race. Cal is doing an amazing job this season and today once again he showed what a top talent he is. He took his opportunity to get a podium and to get a career best result was a great reward for him and all his crew. I’m also very pleased with the great job Bradley did. He had another strong weekend and was improving in every session and he recovered incredibly well from a bad start. He hasn’t ridden the YZR-M1 much in the rain but he built up his pace and confidence and the most important thing was for him to finish and gain some vital experience on this conditions. I’m sure Monster Energy got some great exposure from Cal and Bradley and now we can’t wait for the next challenge in Mugello.”
SOLID SIXTH FOR BAUTISTA AT WET LE MANS
Alvaro Bautista produced a determined ride to secure sixth place on a slippery wet track at Le Mans. The Spanish rider's lap times were as good as anybody on track in the early stages of the race so a better start might have seen him in the battle for the podium positions but a top six finish is still a positive base to build from in the next round at Mugello. There was disappointment for Bryan Staring, who crashed out and missed a valuable opportunity to gather experience of racing his CRT bike in the wet.
Alvaro Bautista (6th) “That was a particularly difficult race because the conditions were so different to how they'd been for practice. I also didn't get a great start and that was a shame because looking at the lap times it cost me the chance to fight at the front. When the track started to dry the bike was cutting the power on the straight and I was losing time but sixth place is a positive result if not a great one because we've improved on last year and I don't like this track. Overall we have made progress here and I feel better with the electronics and suspension in the wet. I am satisfied with the result and I want to thank the team and the sponsors. This is a nice boost before we go to their home race at Mugello. ”
Bryan Staring (DNF) “I made a rookie mistake and ruined the opportunity to get some valuable experience in the wet on this bike so I am really angry with myself right now. I needed to ride a steady race and instead we've ended up with nothing to show. I want to apologise to the team because their efforts this weekend deserved a better result. I will try to make it up to them at Mugello in a couple of weeks' time. ”
Fausto Gresini “That wasn't an easy race to judge and Alvaro had to spend too much time making up for a less than perfect start. It was a shame because up until the halfway stage of the race he was running the same lap times as the guys at the front and could have been fighting for a much better position. Anyway, he finished in a decent position, better than last year, and that's positive especially when this is not one of his favourite tracks. Bryan made a naïve mistake and crashed just at the moment when he needed to stay calm and try to get through the race. It's a shame and he knows it, which is why he is so angry.”
8th place for Ignite Pramac Racing Team
The French Grand Prix ended with a well-deserved eighth-place finish for substitute racer Michele Pirro. The Italian, who normally serves as the Ducati Test Team rider, gave the Ignite Pramac Racing Team its best result of the season so far. The race took place in challenging meteoric conditions, though that didn’t dissuade the enthusiastic crowd.
Rain had threatened the Le Mans circuit all morning, and it finally started falling about an hour before the MotoGP riders began lining up on the starting grid, prompting Race Direction to declare the race wet. The precipitation then stopped approximately twenty minutes after the start, and drying track surface caused the rain tyres to wear.
Although American Ben Spies missed the race, the team and Pirro was able to continue the setup work with his Desmosedici GP13 over the weekend. The team extends a warm thank-you to the Italian for his collaboration.
Michele Pirro – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“I’m pleased with how the first half of the race went, as there wasn’t a big difference from the leaders, althogh we have to understand how to continue improving. I was riding well with the wet track, and after a while I began making up ground pretty well. I was starting to think about passing the group ahead of me, but then the track began drying and I started to lose traction. I tried to figure out how to improve, but in the end, given that the gap was growing, I just tried to manage my advantage over the riders behind me. We had some difficulties this morning, but in the afternoon we definitely went much better. I worked hard these few days to find a feeling with the bike, and I can say that I’m more comfortable with the one that I’m used to. We were able to collect data and taken an eighth-place finish, so I’m pretty satisfied. Thanks very much to the whole team for their hard work over these days, as this result is obviously down to them.”
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager
“Michele really had a nice race, taking a very good eighth place despite the difficult conditions. At about two-thirds race distance, the track began to dry, and then we started to suffer more from tyre wear than the others were. My compliments to Michele for giving us our best result so far. Now we look forward to Ben’s return for our home race.”
Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team completes French Grand Prix
As it had threatened to do since this morning’s warm-up session, which took place under heavy clouds and with track and air temperatures of 11° C (51° F), a light and steady rain began falling on the Le Mans circuit about an hour before the start of the MotoGP race. The race was declared wet, and everything was up for grabs for the twenty-four riders in the premier class.
After a good start, Energy T.I. Racing Team rider Andrea Iannone had to settle for eleventh place in this fourth round of the 2013 championship.
Over the weekend, the team and rider faced many challenges in finding a good setup, and Iannone was also affected by his less-than-ideal physical condition. Fortunately, his arm wasn’t particularly painful over the entire race distance, but the pain in his knee even had him considering returning to the garage about eight laps from the finish.
The team will now begin the hard work ahead of the next round, at Mugello on 2 June.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“This race was very difficult. I started well and tried not to lose ground on the top riders, but then I made some mistakes. I went long in turn six three or four times and lost time. I realized that it wasn’t safe to continue at that pace, so I backed off a bit. The positive side is that my arm doesn’t hurt anymore, so I’m just waiting to remove the stitches. Considering that we weren’t even sure we’d be able to race today, it didn’t go badly all things considered. Looking ahead to Mugello, I’ll have to catch up a bit on my training in order to show up in good shape and have a good race. In the end, I was able to get some good experience in the wet, which I hadn’t been able to do so far this season, and we collected other good data that will be useful for the future.”
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager
“The only thing we can do after this weekend is to lick our wounds. Our goal for the next rounds is to understand how to find a setup for Andrea’s bike more quickly. We had a few too many question marks with the settings to use for the race, and that, along with the pain that he continued to have in his knee today, prevented us from achieving a better result. Fortunately, his arm made a big improvement, and we’re ready for the hard work to come in the next sessions at our home track.”
DETERMINED BRADL TAKES 10th PLACE AT LE MANS GP DESPITE A CRASH
Le Mans, 19 May: in a demanding 28-lap race affected by some light rain in the first part, the LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl managed to finish the Grand Prix de France in 10th position although he slid out of the treacherous track at 11 laps to go when he was steadily holding the 6th place. His fifth place on the grid was a reward for all the hard work he has done with the Team to solve a front-end issue and Without his slide, the German had a good chance to repeat his last year result when he ended 5th.
“My start was pretty good and I think that our pace was not so bad because we were able to race with the top group. Then during the race I could not see properly and had to open the visor many times. So for me it was a bit tough to do the perfect line and I crashed because I touched the white line. After that I was lucky because I was able to push the engine back riding with acceptable lap times. Actually we are back on our speed but we have some bad luck. In any case we are fast in the dry and in the wet so I am looking forward to Mugello which is one of my favourite race tracks”.
ESPARGARÓ MOVES UP TO NINTH IN MOTOGP STANDINGS AFTER ANOTHER GREAT CRT SHOWING
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider takes 13th at Le Mans, whilst teammate Randy De Puniet crashes out of home Grand Prix
Rain had brought the Moto2 French GP to a premature conclusion, and also had a say in the MotoGP race at Le Mans. The premier class riders had to take on tricky conditions in the matinee event, as rain fell on the track during the 28-lap race. Whilst it was hard for the riders, the situation provided fans with an exciting battle. Andrea Dovizioso took the holeshot with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo on his tail and Valentino Rossi just behind. Cal Crutchlow and Nicky Hayden joined up with the group, before Lorenzo lost ground and Rossi crashed out. Meanwhile, Pedrosa pulled away a gap from lap 14 onwards. Crutchlow took second place and Marc Márquez pipped Dovizioso to third with two laps remaining.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider Aleix Espargaró was able to use his talent to stay upright in Ricky conditions, taking his bike back to the pits in the same condition in which he had left. He had difficult moments in the race, including a runoff on lap 7 that lost him two places. He then decided to err on the side of caution, managing to overcome a lack of grip on track to cross the finish line as the top CRT rider. The Spaniard leaves Le Mans in high spirits after another great result, with thirteenth place at the French GP. He now lies ninth in the overall standings in MotoGP, with 20 points.
Home rider Randy De Puniet had less success at Le Mans, despite some consistent riding in the first half of the race. A steamed-up visor denied him the visibility neccesary for such a tough race, and he crashed out at Turn 9 of lap 16.
13th Aleix Espargaró: "At the start of the weekend we found it hard to find pace; this track has never been one of my favourites, and the cold made it tricky to find the best setup. Finally, in qualifying we got what we were looking for with the setup, and knew what we had to do if the race was dry. We still hadn't ridden in the wet this year, however. That meant that we had a few surprises in the rain today and, although everything went ok, I had to fight against my bike for a large part of the race because the electronics weren't working as I had expected. The bike was sliding around a lot and the traction control was hampering me, but we were able to stay upright and finish as the best CRT. We are ninth overall after four races, are doing a fabulous job and I am very happy. I hope that we continue this way."
Randy De Puniet (DNF): "I started the race very well and was son on Aleix's tail. When he ran wide I took advantage to pass him and set my own pace. However, midway through the race I began to lose visibility. I don't know exactly, why, but the film of my visor steamed up and I couldn't see clearly. I have no idea what caused it, but I couldn't even take shelter behind my screen because I couldn't see a thing. On lap sixteen, going into a corner, I lost the front and crashed. I wasn't going any faster than on the previous lap, but I suppose I must have hit a damp patch that I hadn't seen. I am annoyed, because I think that we could have been the top CRT today. Instead, we're on a run of two races without a point. It is tough, but we have to move on and focus on the next race."
15th placed Abraham brings home this year’s first point from a rainy Le Mans
After the fourth race of the season, Karel Abraham was classified for the first time in the MotoGP Championship. On a wet track at Le Mans, the rider for Cardion AB Motoracing was fifteenth across the line and duly took his first point of the year. Compared to his result in qualifying, Karel’s final result saw him climb three places. The French Grand Prix was won by last year’s MotoGP champion Dani Pedrosa, who now tops the current championship standings.
“It’s just one point, but I’m happy to get it. I got a really good start, and I was behind De Puniet and Espargaro on the first lap. I was a bit disappointed when I was finally overtaken by Petrucci, and I know I should have stayed in front. But that would have been very risky – and in my situation I couldn’t really afford it. The important thing is that we now go to Mugello in a better frame of mind.”
Marco Grana, Chief Mechanic Cardion AB Motoracing:
“Getting a point on the board was really important for us. After a poor start to the season, Karel and the whole team needed a bit of a lift – and with that point our enthusiasm has returned. In the race, we were only seven seconds off Espargaro, who is extremely quick in CRT terms. This is a really great result – especially when we take into account that we’ve achieved it at a track that is not one of Karel’s favourites and when conditions were so bad. The bike worked well; only towards the end of the race on a drying track did Karel have any problems - with the front tyre, which was already completely shot. We’re now heading to Mugello feeling more confident. Karel really likes this event, and I think we can improve our results in Italy.”
Edwards in 16th position and Corti constrained to retire at Le Mans
The French Grand Prix comes to and end having NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders Colin Edwards finish in sixteenth position and Claudio Corti constrained to retire.
The American rider ended up sixteenth position, after a very good start of race he had a problem with the electronics but manages to finish top FTR bike at today’s race. Italian teammate Claudio Corti was unable to finish the race due to an engine failure and constrained him to retire after only seven laps.
The fourth round of the season at Le Mans overall has been positive for the riders and their FTR-Kawasaki bikes despite race results. The FTR evolution seems to be taking our progress in the right direction and the team was able to gather important data in rain conditions that will allow the team to work on a rain setting got future races.
“Had a good start of the race and in the first lap it just kind of started coming around on me that I had no traction control taking over and that had me a little nervous. At that point I knew I had to do the race old school, which is no problem, just have to do everything with the wrist. Had a couple of hairy moment the first two laps and then once everything started coming in and the line started to dry up I just put my head down and when I started hearing the electronics I pushed as hard as I could. It got to a point, and I think everybody was in a similar boat, in which the soft tires on a drying track after in a twenty six laps race was very hard on the tires, the last 12 laps you couldn’t really do anything other than staying on the bike. We qualified seventeenth yesterday and finished sixteenth today but at the end of the day we have some good information for rain setup. We haven’t spent much time in the rain with this bike and now we have some information to go back to.”
“I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike at the beginning of the race and after only seven laps I was forced to retire because of an engine failure after only seven laps. The race didn’t go well at all; we had no data to refer to in rain conditions so far this season with this bike and that resulted in us not having the right setting and we had a problem with the engine. I think I could have been fighting with Aoyama and Barbera but I didn’t have the chance to do so. I am now looking forward to Mugello, our home race and keep the team’s spirit up. We have to be remain confident and do good at our home race.”
“It has been a complicated race day for us: after two days in dry conditions and having found a good setting compared to Jerez, we found ourselves having to race in wet conditions. We had no data before the race to base the rain setting on; during the warm up the track was only humid leaving us with no valid data to prepare for the race. The first few laps the track was very wet and we had to take a gamble in terms of establishing a setting for rain conditions because we haven’t had the chance since the beginning of the season to test much in the rain. Colin was able to finish the race and be right out of the points; we are the first FTR-Kawasaki and that is very positive. Claudio could have done good race today since he is a good rider for rain conditions but unfortunately a problem with the engine prevented him from being able to finish the race We leave La Mans satisfied because we know we are going in the right direction in order to become competitive. We still have some work ahead of us and we hope that at Mugello we will have more stable weather conditions.”
Pedrosa takes championship lead after dominating damp French Grand Prix
Round 4: French MotoGP™ - Race
Le Mans, Sunday 19 May 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft Rear: Extra-soft (Symmetric), Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 14-16°C; Track 14-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa made it back-to-back victories after a masterful performance in wet conditions at Le Mans today, a performance that sees the Repsol Honda rider move to the top of the MotoGP™ rider standings.
With rain falling at the start of the race, it was Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who got the holeshot to lead into the first corner ahead of Pedrosa, the two riders swapping the lead a few times before Pedrosa made his race-winning pass on lap fourteen. Once in the lead Pedrosa held his position at the front to win the race by 4.863 seconds – his first MotoGP victory in France. In second place was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider overcoming the pain of a leg injury to claim his highest ever placing in MotoGP ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who made a great comeback after a slow start to take the final podium position. First of the CRT riders across the finish line was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro in thirteenth place.
Cool and wet conditions greeted the grid for the French Grand Prix, with a track temperature of just 14°C recorded at the start of the twenty-eight lap race. The conditions resulted in all twenty-four riders selecting the softer wet tyre options front and rear for the highest level of warm-up performance, although some riders went out on the sighting lap with the harder option wets, before changing to the soft option on the grid due to the cold conditions. As the race progressed the rain ceased and the sun started to shine, causing a dry line to appear on turns two, seven and eight which caused variable grip levels in different sections of the circuit.
Pedrosa now leads his Repsol Honda teammate Marquez in the MotoGP championshop standings by six points, while a further nine points back and third in the standings is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Well done to Dani for his second win of the season in what were difficult riding conditions at Le Mans, and I’d also like to congratulate Cal on his best ever MotoGP result at the home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. We always knew that Le Mans can present variable weather, so despite the rain today which made it quite challenging for the riders, I am happy that we still had an exciting contest. Another good crowd was present this year at Le Mans and the many fans that braved today’s wet conditions were rewarded with a fantastic MotoGP race.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s race conditions made it quite difficult for riders with a very cold and wet track at the beginning of the race causing low grip, before a dry line appeared on some corners towards the end of the race which caused different grip levels on various sections of the circuit. This is the kind of wet race that really tests the riders and so our wet tyres had to handle the rapidly changing track conditions, particularly as the riders did not experience fully wet conditions until the beginning of the race and so perhaps didn’t have the ideal wet setup for the race. As we expected, Le Mans once again delivered a big variety in track conditions and our tyre allocation for this race weekend gave options for every situation.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“It was a very good race, I’m so happy with this one as the start of the race was hard. It was a little difficult in the beginning with the grip from the rear, but after a couple of laps I could get enough temperature in the tyres and I had a good feeling which allowed me to push more. Once I was in the front I could keep a good rhythm and managed my gap, so it is great to get my first MotoGP win at this circuit.”
Laverty Continues 100% Record For PBM
After scoring points in the opening three rounds of the MotoGP World Championship, the Penrith-based PBM MotoGP team of Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty couldn't manage to add to their tally at a damp and dismal round four held at Le Mans in France.
With Laverty continuing his progress of developing the Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored PBM machine, the 31-year-old Ulsterman qualified in an impressive top twenty placing, just ahead of 24-year-old Colombian Hernandez who started in 23rd place on the Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored Aprilia ART.
With wet conditions greeting the riders, it was always going to be a difficult task but a great start by Hernandez saw him up to 17th with Laverty in 22nd which is where they stayed for the opening half dozen laps before Laverty moved up a place.
Before long, the two PBM machines were circulating in formation with Hernandez, from Medelln, dropping to 18th but just one place ahead of team-mate Laverty, from Toome, as they scrapped it out in the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class.
Each rider moved up a respective place to 17th and 18th on lap 16 as they homed in on the points but on lap 20 of the 28 laps, Hernandez suffered a technical problem causing him to retire to the pits. That left Laverty to battle on alone and despite getting lapped for the first time this season, he brought the machine home to its fourth finish in as many races to continue his 100% finishing rate as he claimed a battling 17th on a drying track.
Despite not adding to their points score, both Laverty and Hernandez remain tied on points in 18th place in the MotoGP World Championship and equal fifth in the CRT standings going into the next round at Mugello in Italy next month. PBM remain in seventh place in the Constructors Championship in their debut season with their brand new British-built machine.
Michael Laverty: "I'm disappointed with the result; we had a good pace in the dry but today was a big learning experience as I hadn't ridden the Bridgestone wet tyres or the PBM bike properly in the rain. I felt like a fish out of water in warm up but the team improved the electronics for the race and I got more comfortable as the race went on. Once I understood the tyres I was actually lapping as fast as the top CRT guys but I had lost so much time in the early laps that a good result was impossible. The main positive from today is that I know we can be competitive when the rain arrives in future."
Yonny Hernandez: "It was a difficult weekend for me as I never found a good rhythm with the bike in the dry. In the wet warm up session I was happier and was much more competitive but in the race there was a different feeling and too much spinning. I thought there was a problem with the tyre and it was not safe so I retired. I am sad because I think I could have had a good result if the feeling had been the same as the warm up."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "It has been a frustrating weekend as our potential in the conditions of the race is better than our results. With Michael, his times in the dry improved during the weekend as he became more familiar with the circuit and as the bike setting developed. In the wet condition his speed increased as the race progressed, setting the second fastest CRT time, but it was too late to challenge for some points. Yonny was struggling in the dry but he was very fast in the wet conditions so it was especially disappointing that he retired with a lack of rear grip. We will check the data to try and understand why his bike felt so different between the warm up and race."