Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans:
Morbidelli and Márquez hoping for podium chance in France
Racing to a first Moto2 World Championship podium of 2016 will be the top priority for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez this weekend when they tackle the legendary Le Mans track in France.
Morbidelli is still seeking his first top three finish in the famous livery of the Belgium-based squad, having come close to securing a podium in three of the opening four races.
The Italian scored a season best fourth place last time out in Jerez, and optimism is high that he can break his podium duck in 2016 after he set an impressive pace during a private Moto2 test at the Catalunya track near Barcelona last week.
Márquez had a disappointing conclusion to the Jerez round when he crashed out of top six contention, but the Catalunya test allowed him to build up his confidence again and rediscover the excellent feeling he had with his Kalex machine in practice and qualifying in Andalusia.
The 4.2km Le Mans track features a layout dominated by a series of hairpins that will test the late braking skills of Morbidelli and Márquez. Throttle control is also essential at Le Mans, with rear grip pushed to the limit by a series of hard acceleration points.
“Le Mans is a completely different challenge compared to Jerez but I like the track. I was fast in the race last year and that makes me confident I can go there this weekend and be strong again. I’m also confident after we improved the set-up of the 2016 Kalex during the test in Barcelona last week. Now I am looking forward to seeing if the improvements are also good at a track like Le Mans. I am very curious about this and ready to battle inside the top five again.”
“Last year was not an easy race for me in Le Mans and I had a lot of problems during the weekend. We never found the best setting but this year everything is clearer with more experience. The first objective for me is to finish the race after the disappointment of Jerez. It is crucial to get a good result because it will give the team a lift and I think that is what we need right now. We need to make a good start from the first practice and be aggressive from the off. If we do that I am convinced we can end with a positive result.”
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 move on to legendary Le Mans
Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet take on the fifth round of the Moto3 World Championship season this weekend in France. Navarro lies second in the overall standings -15 points off the series leader- and came close to a podium finish at the Spanish GP.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 head to the French GP boosted by a positive private test in Barcelona last week. Although Jorge Navarro suffered a crash in the final run of the test, dislocating his left shoulder, the Spaniard has had several days rest in which to recover. Last season he started from second on the grid at Le Mans, but failed to finish the race after crashing out at Turn 3 of Lap 19.
Aron Canet has previous experience of this weekend’s venue, having ridden in the FIM CEV Repsol series at Le Mans. It was there that he took pole and claimed his first victory for Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 in 2015. This year, the rookie arrives in France with the aim of working intensively from Friday to adjust to the ‘stop-and-go’ circuit, where corner positioning is so important for finding drive.
The French Grand Prix will start on Friday, May 6th with the first Free Practice session, which takes place at 9am local time.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
2nd in the overall standings with 62 points
"I arrive eager to improve on last year’s result"
"At Jerez we were left wanting more, but finishing fourth helped us to score some important points that keep me second overall. We have been very consistent and arrive at Le Mans in good shape, although last Friday I had a crash in testing at Montmelo and I hurt my shoulder. However, I've used these last few days to rest and I think that I will be almost 100% fit for the first Free Practice. I’m going to Le Mans eager to improve on last year's result, because in 2015 things didn’t go as well as I would have liked. Flowing circuits are better suited to my riding style and the Le Mans circuit is ‘stop-and-go,’ but the experience I gained last year and the knowledge of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 crew will help us when we start work on Friday –looking to become as strong as possible ahead of Sunday's race."
Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider
17th in the overall standings with 10 points
"I face this round eager and very motivated"
"The Le Mans circuit brings back good memories for me, because last year I got my first win with Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 in the FIM CEV Repsol there . There is usually not so good weather, but for the last two years the conditions have been helpful and that has always allowed us to work very intensively on the setup. I’ve enjoyed myself a lot on the bike at Le Mans, and I hope that this year is the same. After not finishing the Spanish GP, I face this round eager and very motivated. "
BASTIANINI WILL TRY TO RACE AT LE MANS. 'DIGGIA' IN THE HUNT AGAIN FOR FIRST POINTS
Despite the right wrist fracture sustained last April 27, Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini will try to race in the French Grand Prix, scheduled for this weekend at Le Mans. Immediately after the surgery to reduce the fracture, performed by Dr. Giannicola Lucidi the day after the accident, the 18-year-old rider from Rimini has in fact immediately started a rehabilitation program, undergoing several physiotherapy sessions with the specialists of Clinica Mobile, with the aim of quickly regaining a good wrist mobility.
Bastianini therefore will fly to Le Mans, where on Thursday he will undergo the necessary medical checks to receive the ok to race by the medical director. In case of success, during the free practices Enea will better assess his physical condition on the bike in order to decide whether to participate in the Grand Prix.
On the other side of the garage Bastianini’s team mate, Fabio Di Giannantonio, is determined to bounce back after the disappointment suffered on the last lap of the Spanish Grand Prix: the 17-year-old rookie from Rome was in fact in 14th position and he was about to collect his first World Championship points when a risky maneuver of Malaysian Pawi caused him to crash just two corners from the finish. At his first visit to the Bugatti circuit, Di Giannantonio will need to take advantage of the first free practice to learn the track.
“I will be at Le Mans, where on Thursday I will undergo the required medical checks to receive the ok to race. I want to get back on track, but at the same time we don’t want to take unnecessary risks: if I will get the ok to race I will try first of all to figure out how I’m feeling on the bike, then we will decide whether to continue the weekend. If there are the conditions to get a good result we will try, otherwise better to give up. Obviously it would be a shame, because Le Mans is a track where I have always been very fast in the last two years. This year I would like to get another good result, but this injury has made everything more complicated... However, the important thing is to try, always!”.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO
“After the Spanish Grand Prix I spent a lot of time travelling around Italy and I attended a couple of very nice events organized by the sponsors of the team. Finally, last weekend I prepared this race training with Flat Track, hosted by my crew chief Fabrizio Cecchini. We arrive in Le Mans determined to take another step forward: the goal is to get the result that we were about to obtain in Jerez, but unfortunately vanished just a few meters from the finish, that is to get into the top 15 and collect our first points. This is my first time at Le Mans, but it seems a very nice track, with a lot of 'stop & go' areas, so I’m confident I can do well”.
“Right now it’s hard to say what will happen in Le Mans: when we will get to the track we will evaluate the situation. Bastianini first have to undergo a medical check to receive the okay to race, then he will evaluate his physical condition on the bike to better understand whether it’s worth continuing or not. Enea wants to race, that’s for sure: among other things, Le Mans is one of his favourite tracks, so it would be a shame to give up. We are going through a difficult time, in this start of the season we have not yet found the right balance and we are not satisfied in terms of results: this injury adds further difficulties, but we need to stay focused and to look forward with high spirits. In Jerez Di Giannantonio failed to collect his first points, but for me it’s like if he had taken them: Fabio rode a great race in Spain, so now let’s continue on this direction, giving continuity to this growing trend”.
LOWES HEADS TO HISTORIC LE MANS TO BUILD ON SUCCESS
The Moto2 World Championship heads this weekend to France, at the historic Bugatti circuit of Le Mans, home of the fifth round of the 2016 campaign. Fresh from the stunning victory in Jerez and leader in the Championship, Sam Lowes will try once again to join the fight for the podium aboard the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex machine.
Already very competitive in last year’s edition of the French Grand Prix, in which he was second fastest in Qualifying (setting the same lap time of pole man Alex Rins) and very close to the podium in the race, Lowes also arrives at Le Mans in high spirits after a positive day of testing carried out last April 29 at circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where he put on display once again a very good performance, especially in terms of race pace.
“I really enjoy racing at Le Mans: the track suits my riding style, which is aggressive on braking, having a ‘stop&go’ layout with hard braking points. Hopefully I can reach a good feeling with my Kalex and thus continue to be as competitive as in the last races, in order to collect good points for the championship. Alex Rins was very fast last year here, but I was fast too, in fact one year ago we got exactly the same lap time in Qualifying. Therefore I expect a good fight with him and I can’t wait to get on track!”.
“After the Jerez victory Lowes had a very busy week, with a day of testing at Barcelona, which gave very positive results, then he flew to Jakarta to take part at some events together with Federal Oil and our other Indonesian partners. Definitely a challenging trip, to which Sam, however, participated with great enthusiasm. Now we are already fully focused on this race, which will take place on a track where Sam was already very fast last year. We have proven to be competitive everywhere, Sam is happy with the behaviour of bike and suspension, so we just have to stay focused and to do our job to be at the top also at Le Mans”.
Zarco sets sights on home win
Ajo Motorsport rider has unfinished business at historic Le Mans circuit, and wants to fight for his second victory of 2016.
05/04/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
The Moto2 World Championship arrives in France this week, to contest the fifth round of the season. Home rider Johann Zarco is firmly focused on taking victory at the historic Le Mans circuit for the first time in his career. To do this, he will need to adapt to a track with very particular characteristics, asphalt and weather conditions, which usually provide plenty of surprises over the course of the French GP weekend.
Last year the Ajo Motorsport rider placed on the podium at Le Mans –famous in motorsport for its tradition of 24 hour endurance races. This weekend, the Frenchman wants to do even better than that third place and have ‘Le Marseillaise’ ring out in celebration of a win. In one of the tightest World Championships in recent years, Zarco knows that every point will be important, and places value on his fifth place in a difficult race at Jerez last time out.
The red lights will go out for the French GP at 12:20pm local time on Sunday for the Moto2 class. Zarco –third in the overall standings– has the opportunity to gain places with a good result.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"Last year at Le Mans I got on the podium and it was very nice to be there in front of the French fans. Getting a win would be amazing and I will be fighting for that. I think that Jerez was a good weekend for us to learn things, because when you have problems it is when you learn the most. I have to organise myself well over the weekend to have my energy at a maximum. I want to be around the fans, but when I get on the bike I have to be focused and prepare in the best way possible to be at the level Sam [Lowes] was at Jerez. He was the strongest there, and I want to be the strongest at Le Mans."
Red Bull KTM Ajo head to Le Mans on a roll
Brad Binder looks to consolidate series lead after first victory at Jerez. Bo Bendsneyder goes to a circuit where he scored a podium last year in the FIM CEV.
05/04/2016 - Le Mans Circuit, France
The arrival in Europe of the World Championship has worked out well so far for Red Bull KTM Ajo: Brad Binder took his first victory in Jerez, fighting back from last position on the grid, and increased his lead in the Moto3 class. With the South African’s latest podium, Red Bull KTM Ajo have accumulated a run of 10 consecutive podiums across the 2015/16 campaigns. Up next for the team is the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, where Bo Bendsneyder claimed third place last year in the FIM CEV.
For Brad Binder, the historic track presents a big challenge, after an unfortunate 2015 French GP that ended for him at the first chicane. However, this season the South African comes into the event off the back of a perfect podium record from the opening four races, and his first GP victory at the last round at Jerez. Alongside MotoGP rider Marc Marquez, Binder is the only man to place on the rostrum at every event so far. His aim for this weekend is to extend his 15-point advantage over his nearest rival.
Bo Bendsneyder will attempt to get back in the points and regain a good feeling with his bike, at a track already familiar to him; last year he achieved third place at Le Mans in the FIM CEV. The young Dutchman took a step forward in performance at Jerez, although an incident in the race deprived him of the chance to compete in a group fighting for points.
The Moto3 French Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, May 8th, at 11:00am local time.
41 BRAD BINDER
"The French Grand Prix at the historic circuit of Le Mans will be a new challenge for us, after our four consecutive podium finishes in this great start to the season. It's not one of my favourite tracks, although it has its peculiarities that make it special. The important thing is not the circuit, but the feeling we have upon arrival. After my first victory I am very confident and we are ready to remain in the top positions this weekend."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"I'm looking forward to racing at Le Mans this weekend. It's a circuit that I know because I had a very good race there last year in the FIM CEV –going up on the podium for the first time. It is a track that I like, it's not too difficult. In addition, the weather always throws out some surprises, so we will see what we find this time. We will work hard from the first practice session to the race, in order to ride in the positions we should be in."
Moto3 - Trip to Le Mans for 3570 Team Italia
New challenge for Lorenzo Petrarca and Stefano Valtulini at the Circuit Bugatti of Le Mans.
3570 Team Italia comes back on track for the 2016 season of Moto3 World Championship at the Circuit Bugatti of Le Mans. After many difficulties at Jerez de la Frontera, Lorenzo Petrarca and Stefano Valtulini are ready to come back on their Mahindra MGP3O in a familiar track, starting point to create a weekend of constant and gradual improvement in terms of performance.
A crash in the race of Jerez caused to Lorenzo Petrarca a contusion to a foot, but he should not have any troubles for the French weekend of the calendar, focused to carry on the growth path after the encouraging signals of the previous races.
Stefano Valtulini will come back on track, since he was forced not to race at Jerez due to the injury to his shoulder during Austin's qualifying. Thanks to daily sessions of physiotherapy, the rider from Bergamo is confident to get back on his bike, leaving behind these difficult weeks.
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"We get ready to race in France, where we are going to test different solutions of set-up, in order to improve our level of competitiveness. Hopefully both our riders will be fine, recovering after the problematical weekend of Jerez. Valtulini is recovering day by day from the shoulder's injury that forced him to give up on the last Gran Prix, and, according to the doctors, he is supposed not have any problem for Le Mans. We'll check it directly on Friday during the first free practice, as for Lorenzo: the contusion to a foot that he got during the race in Jerez should allow him to get out on track. Waiting for the Gran Prix of Mugello, the team will take advantage of the French round to optimize the technical package that we have, conscious that the characteristics of the track should be suitable for the Mahindra. We will work hard to reach our goals.".
Leopard Racing’s Moto2 branch hunt results in France
Oliveira and Kent are determined to reap the fruits of their commitment and work ethic in the intermediate class.
The Grand Prix circus arrives at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans where from Friday to Sunday the fifth round of the 2016 season will take place. The track, located about 200km south-east of Paris is known to the public for the numerous endurance races.
It’s not an easy track to deal with, characterized by heavy braking and hard acceleration, the 4.2 km long circuit winds through five left and nine right hand corners with a straight of 900m. The Leopard Racing team arrive in France with the sole aim of collecting the results they missed out on in the previous round in Jerez.
Both Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira had flashes of brilliance in Andalusia and benefited from increased confidence on their Kalex machines. Their races ended far too soon but Oliveira gave the fans a great show as he fought his way to the edge of the top five before his unfortunate fall.
Le Mans has always been a bit of challenging track for the two Leopard Racing riders. Last year Miguel Oliveira took eighth place in the Moto3 race, his best race result at the circuit. Twice Oliveira has started on the front row in Le Mans, second in 2013 his best grid position.
In that same year Danny Kent took his first Moto2 points with 15th in the French GP. In 2015 the Brit made a great comeback from 31st on the grid to end fourth, on the edge of a podium.
Can the two protagonists buck their past trend and show all the true potential? Sunday holds the answer.
SKY RACING TEAM VR46 READY TO BE COMPETITIVE AT LE MANS
After the positive results of the last two races Romano Fenati and Nicolò Bulega are motivated to achieve important places at Le Mans. For Andrea Migno the goal is the Top10
Le Mans (France), May 5th 2016 – After the great win at Austin for Romano Fenati and the exciting weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix, which meant the second place on the podium for Nicolò Bulega it is time to back on track for the Sky Racing Team VR46 at Le Mans circuit. For the young Italian talents the goal is clear: continuity and important results.
Positive on the grid Romano Fenati, winner at Le Mans last season and motivated to find the feeling with his bike from the first free practices of Friday. For Romano the target is collect important points this weekend.
Bulega, poleman in Jerez and second in the race, is ready to return on his KTM on this track where he was really close to the pole position in the CEV Moto3 last year. Nicolò has clear ideas: the target is to fight for the Top5.
Andrea Migno, ninth under the checkered flag in 2015, who is in full recovery after the wrist injury, is confident: he can fight for the top ten.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
After the great results of the last two Grand Prix, in Le Mans we have to stay focused and continuing to work in this direction. We expected a tough race, the weather you know is always strange here. Romano won in Le Mans a year ago and we know he can do a great job. It will be important finding a good feeling since the first free practices. Nicolò has just earned his first podium and he is certainly motivated. He knows the track from the CEV. Andrea is recovering from the wrist injury and his target is to stay for the whole weekend close to the top 10.
ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
Le Mans is one of my favorite tracks: I have always achieved important results here – as last year when I won the race. In Jerez I struggled to find the right feeling, but I’m motivated to do a great step forward in France. My goal is to immediately finding the right setting for push as I want from Friday.
ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
I arrived at Le Mans with the wrist still not at 100%. In Jerez, despite the pain, I was constant in all the practices, approaching the top 10 in the race. Also in this weekend my goal is remaining with the first group and collect some points.
NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
I’m looking forward to back on track at Le Mans. After the incredible weekend at Jerez, where I achieved the first pole position of my carrer and the podium in the Championship, I’m ready to show my best at Le Mans. It is a track that I know and I'm confident: I can fight for the Top5.
Fabio Quartararo seeks redemption in home Grand Prix
The French rider, after having been a guest at the Chateau du Lude, is ready to begin his season anew at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans.
The World Championship enters its fifth round of the 2016 calendar as the paddock arrives in Le Mans. The track, built in 1965, stretches over 4.2 km with five left had bends and nine rights. Leopard Racing are in France and determined to achieve good results.
Eyes are undoubtedly on the ‘landlord’ Fabio Quartararo. The 17 year old from Nice is back from his accident in Jerez and is ready to deliver the home fans a great deal of satisfaction. Having gotten pole position last season, the Frenchman is out to stop a repeat of the Italian podium lockout of 2015 and give the French fans something to cheer about.
Andrea Locatelli is likely to impress as well, his crash in the Spanish Grand Prix forced the Italian to retire and interrupted a positive run of top point scoring finishes. Another rider who sees a top five spot for the taking is Joan Mir. The Spanish rookie also showed well in Jerez thanks to a combination of skill and determination, proving his love of a fight. As his growth continues, the podium surely can’t be far away.
Before arriving at the famous circuit, several riders made a stop to the Chateau du Lude. Fabio Quartararo was joined by several of his compatriots from the Moto2 and MotoGP classes to attend the event, wearing period costumes and discovering the sumptuous and elegant rooms of the castle. With six floors, 70 rooms and 120 windows there was certainly a lot to explore. That’s before you ventured outside onto the grand garden with 300m meters of stone balustrades, 1 kilometre of clipper hedges and 900 meters of impressive walls.
Since the 17th century the old stronghold, surrounded by its wide moat, has housed an elegant terrace edged by the stone balustrades with a ‘suspended’ garden added in the 18th century. The lavishly sculpted façade is one of the purest examples of the Italian Renaissance in France. The Daillon family was very close to the French royal family. Many of them, such as Henry IV and Louis XII, even stayed at the Lude.
In the second half of the 20th century, a light and sound show was created at Le Lude, the first one to use actors (more than 350 !) all from the town. This magnificent show, which lasted for decades, received the most distinguished touristic and cultural awards.
In the hands of the same family for the last 260 years, Le Lude belongs today to Count and Countess Louis-Jean de Nicolay. They are trying to preserve the memory of the past, but they are also turned towards the future, by creating new gardens and new events to share the beauty and the charm of their exceptional home with the public.
PEUGEOT MOTOCYCLES SAXOPRINT AHEAD OF ITS BIGGEST WEEKEND
The Grand Prix de France, round five of the Moto3 world series, marks a very special opportunity for the newly formed French / German based team.
All setbacks are checked off as both riders crashed out of the race last time out in Jerez, the ambitious Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT team look forward to its home race at the legendary French circuit.
In case of Alexis Masbou, the experienced Frenchman to face a double amount in terms of motivation. First to race in front of his local fans as well to perform for his compatriot manufacturer on home soil. His Jerez crash doesn’t affect him so Masbou is very eager to open his points tally this weekend at least whilst team mate John McPhee isn’t less motivated to cheer the French fans of the brand this Sunday too.
The French round is held at the historic Le Mans circuit which got world famous due to its 24 hours’ car race long ago. As usual for European rounds, starting time for the Moto3 points haul this Sunday is scheduled for 11:00am.
#10 Alexis MASBOU:
“Well, Le Mans is every year a very special race weekend for me but this time it is even more important, not only for me but mostly for the team. I’m very motivated for the team’s home race to do well and hopefully to gain my first points this year. It’s a tricky track due to its many first gear corners but somehow I like to rider there, obviously because of the circumstance to race in front of my home crowd.”
#17 John McPHEE:
“Of course it’s very nice to be here in Le Mans this weekend at the home race of Peugeot. The track’s layout is completely different to that ones we raced this year thus far so I’m so excited to get going and hopefully we can deliver a strong weekend here in France in front of all Peugeot people who will come to attend this race and support us.”
BASTIANINI DECLARED UNFIT TO RACE AT LE MANS
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 racer Enea Bastianini will not take part in this weekend’s French Grand Prix: the 18-year-old rider from Rimini has been declared unfit to race today following his right wrist fracture, suffered last April 27 during training. Bastianini will then be back on track at the Italian Grand Prix, scheduled on May 22 at Mugello.
“I would have liked to ride tomorrow and try to race on this track, which I really love. Unfortunately I can’t do that, but we have to accept the decision and we need to look forward to the upcoming races: in these days I will work hard with the physiotherapists of the Clinica Mobile to quickly regain a good mobility of the wrist and get back in shape as soon as possible. We will do our maximum in preparation for Mugello”.
“Bastianini wanted to try, of course, but we accept the decision of the doctors. The important thing now is that Enea can keep calm and remains focused to follow a good physiotherapy program in order to be fit for Mugello”.