2010 Le Mans MotoGP Race Result: Comfortable Victory Belies Close Podium Battle

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Le Mans:

Jorge Lorenzo took an impressive second victory in a row for the Fiat Yamaha rider, cruising to a comfortable win over his teammate Valentino Rossi. Rossi had an excellent start, getting the holeshot ahead of Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, Lorenzo slotting into 3rd, ahead of the Marlboro Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner. Lorenzo was not content to sit behind Pedrosa, though, passing his fellow Spaniard through Garages Verts.

With three of the Fantastic Four ahead of him, Stoner decided he had to join the party, taking over 4th from Hayden at Musee. He then pushed hard to try and catch Pedrosa, and as he started to catch the Repsol Honda, he crashed, apparently saving the front only to lose the rear. For the second time in three races, Casey Stoner crashed out, putting a huge dent in his championship aspirations. The Australian was disconsolate in the pits, and must be wondering what he did to deserve this.

Now that Stoner was out of the race, the three leaders started to get a gap. Lorenzo was hard on Rossi, while Pedrosa hung on the back of the two Fiat Yamahas. Lorenzo was happy to sit where he was for a few laps, before challenging hard at the start of lap 7, passing the Italian through Dunlop, before getting taken straight back at the Chicane, Rossi holding off the charge for now.

But with Rossi still suffering with a lack of strength in his shoulder, and Lorenzo completely unleashed, that situation could not last for long. The Italian's lead lasted four more laps, before Lorenzo finally put a perfect block pass on his teammate through the chicane. Once past, Lorenzo was gone, the race for 1st effectively over. Rossi turned his attention to holding off Pedrosa. That proved a relatively simple task, especially once Pedrosa's tires started to go off. Rossi's 2nd place was never really in danger.

Pedrosa's 3rd spot on the podium was a different matter altogether, however. The Spaniard's lead over Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden started to fall, slowly at first, and more precipitately towards the end of the race. The pair were on Pedrosa with 5 laps to go, and Dovizioso started pushing to find a way past. That path opened up into the chicane on the final lap, Pedrosa's bike looking more and more ragged. Hayden looked like he would get past at Musee, but Pedrosa held him off there, though his fate was effectively sealed. The Spaniard ran wide at Garages Bleus, and Hayden was past, making it three 4th place finishes in a row.

Summary to follow:

Results: 

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 44'29.114  
2 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 44'34.786 5.672
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 44'36.986 7.872
4 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 44'38.460 9.346
5 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 44'41.727 12.613
6 33 Marco MELANDRI HONDA 44'51.032 21.918
7 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 44'58.402 29.288
8 40 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 45'02.242 33.128
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 45'02.607 33.493
10 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 45'02.919 33.805
11 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 45'03.460 34.346
12 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 45'06.237 37.123
13 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 45'24.175 55.061
Not Classified
  65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 9'44.122 22 laps
  11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 9'47.284 22 laps
  27 Casey STONER DUCATI 3'18.638 26 laps
Round Number: 
3
2010
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Comments

So now, we see the season fleshing out a bit. Lorenzo's stock is rising, as perhaps Stoner's is falling. The big question, will a fit Rossi be able to consistently beat a fit Lorenzo? The next few races are going to be good drama. Oh yeah, well done Nicky!

or producer or whatever you call the guy that chooses the camera that is shown live...that has a clue? The best racing of the entire race on the last lap, and instead of seeing Hayden pass Pedrosa, we get to see Lorenzo's crew standing on the pit wall. How about instead of a live shot of the crew and a replay of one of only about five passes in the entire freaking race, we instead could see the pass live and then watch a replay of the crew celebrating? I have seen quite a few crew celebrations...like maybe a few million...and I'm really not interested in seeing another one, especially at the expense of the race action that I watched on the edge of my seat for the last three laps only to miss the last pass.

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, and I've tried not to bitch and moan (I have to do enough of that in my job), but this is ridiculous. Just let us see the race and save all of the "color" for your highlight reels!

OK, I feel a little better. Now, what in the heck is going on with Stoner? From the look on his face in his garage (now that was a great camera shot!), I don't think he knows either!

His head was in his hands for a good few minutes! Utter despair. Looked like he was shouting at his crew also just before that, but was hard to tell with no audio. The back end came around on him at full lean, just when it looked like he was starting to roll on. ??

Can the agument be made that Nicky is on his way to becoming an alien???
4th every race and has beaten Casey and Pedrosa straight up. He has certainy been one of the Fantastic Four this season.

No, we can't count Nicky as an alien. As we lose the real aliens (Stoner & Pedrosa) somebody must finish in their vacated positions. Neither Hayden nor Dovi have demonstrated pointy-end pace so I don't think they can join the alien club. However, if they keep this consistency up, they will gain the confidence to push into alien territory.

BTW, I'm a Hayden fan.

I'm tired of hearing about the "aliens." Truth be told in my eyes Pedrosa and Lorenzo are not "aliens." Sure they're up near the front a lot but neither have been able to beat Rossi in points come end of the year. Stoner and Hayden both have so until Lorenzo or Pedrosa do they're just another quick rider who doesn't have the year long consistency to be in that most elite class. This could be Jorge's year though. We'll see.

Respectfully, I would remind you that Jorge has won 7 races in MotoGP in just over 2 years and Hayden has won only 3 races in just over 7 years. Some would say Hayden was gifted the championship in 2006 because Rossi had so many problems. I won't contest that he won it fairly but I think Lorenzo is a superior racer overall. He was on the front row of the grid on all but one race last year. If he successfully reduces his fall ratio he will be champion. This is spoken as a Rossi partisan too. I see Lorenzo as being that strong.

OK. If you know me, you know that I watch pretty much every race in my Rossi hat, pajamas, and slippers. In my living room with the "Sun and Moon" wallpaper, bright yellow carpet, a big Nastro Azzurro rug, curtains covered in "THE DOCTOR" lettering, and a bright yellow sofa. With my wife, who has #46 undies and socks. And who drinks her tea from a sun-shaped mug with a moon-shaped handle. (Seriously, though, I DO wear my eye-poppingly bright yellow Rossi Camel pit crew shirt and my tatty old Nastro Azzurro hat TO CHURCH on race days. I even get my wife to wear her yellow "THE DOCTOR" fishing hat on race days.)

We're fans. BIG fans.

That said, I have to move on to my thoughts on the race today: Holy freakin' CRAP. How DOES J Lo DO that? That was...uhhh...erm...WOW. This whole "going faster and faster as the race progresses...when the tires SHOULD be going off" act that he's putting on this year...is...IMPRESSIVE. Now that his starts don't stink so much, this is gonna get REALLY interesting. I'm almost nearly kinda sorta just about to start *shudder* pulling for Dani and Casey *shudder* to do a little bit better, so that there's a bit more dogfighting. As impressive as Jorge ("horgay/yorgay") is riding, I prefer--regardless of whether it's him or Rossi or Dani or Casey--a closer scrap at the front. I wanna see FOUR aliens! But again, I'll give credit where credit is due: INCREDIBLE ride today, Jorge. Really.

It would all be very unsettling, but then again, this is the single best thing to light a fire under one particular Italian from Tavullia...

p.s. SUPERB JOB, Nicky! Way to go! I wasn't sure that I would ever see Casey a distant second place on points...to his teammate! I'm not just befuddled by Casey's sudden inability to keep the round black "spinny bits" on the tarmac, but I am also REALLY impressed by Nicky's progress. My wife is always happy to see him smile. For ANY reason. :)

And with no doubt in my mind, this season is going to be between Vale and JLO, my money is on Vale, no questions asked. As for how hard is it going to be for Vale? Very i should say, young JLO does not fold under pressure easy, but we know as we have seen Vale for many years now racing is more than full speed, crafty racing as well as crafty words will make for a very good season for all of us to enjoy.
FernandoARG

I am always a Rossi fan first but I think there is a really good chance this is Jorge's year. He has slowly reduced his mistakes over the last 2 years and as such he is becoming formidable.

As for Stoner, I also had the thought that in making the bike easier for everyone else to ride they made it worse for Stoner. His blaming others is unseemly too. I notice Rossi and Lorenzo and others tend to own up for their mistakes alone and congratulate their teams collectively when they win. I respect Stoner's riding but he doesn't handle failures with too much grace.

As for the comment above about Hayden, I'd make the case for Dovizioso creeping into alien territory before I would Nicky. 2 podiums in 3 races is impressive with the competition he has.

Hate to say it, but it seems hopes of winning the title again are gone already for Stoner -- Rossi, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa are just too strong to make up that many points (although if any of the four could do it I would say Stoner is the best bet for it). Stoner himself said the same thing during the 2008 season, when he also crashed himself out of the title.

And the way things are going, it'll be Rossi at Ducati next year, with Lorenzo the top guy at Yamaha, and Stoner the odd man out. No matter how fast you are, and Stoner is plenty fast, and plenty capable of winning races, you can't score points if you don't stay upright.

Had my bit to say to the Stoner knockers but to Jorge all i can say is WOW..That man is fast this year..He is fast every year but he is on the money this season..To blow Rossi away like he did at Le Mans is scary..I think we are looking at the 2010 Champion if he keeps it upright..I think even Rossi was a bit stunned on how he left him so far behind..Have to see all four aliens back on the pace so it will be a cracker season..

Le Mans is near enough to Rossi's worst track, based on results over the years. To finish second there - while injured, to boot - is fantastic for him, and bodes well for a very strong run from here on in.

I really think everyone needs to take a step back and wait before they proclaim Lorenzo as heir apparent to the title... Rossi is not done yet, not by a long shot.

Stoner *might* be, however - the odds are certainly against him. He'd have to win 80-90% of the remaining races to have any chance at the title. Can't see it happening, whatever made the bike easy for Hayden has taken away the edge Stoner needs.

I'd like to see Lorenzo take his first top level title. I'd like to see Casey take another. But I think most of all I'd like to see Rossi surpass Ago's final standing record, and win a title or two while he's at it.

Stoner's post-race comments definitely left a sour taste in the mouth... Nicky's the one in 5th place in the championship, after all, with Stoner not even in the top 10?

Also, I count this as Stoner's 3rd crash in 4 races.. remember the warmup catastrophe at the last race Valencia '09???

The imprimatur for motomatters.com is 'intelligent debate'. This rider flaming stuff is for other sites and plainly corrosive comments on other people's commentary is no part of the ethos of this site. Nobody minds a bit of passion, nobody minds intelligent and reasoned criticism of any of the riders, but knock off the bigotry, OK?
Also, please, use some intelligence and do the riders the courtesy of actually reading ALL their comments on the race, not just selected grabs before loading and shooting off.

Similar comments from Stoner, Capirossi, Spies (from Jerez) for the front tires, as well as Colin, Nicky, Valentino for the rear grip problem. Bridgestone I believe have a different rear tire this year, but the front is the same (correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that I read this on this site somewhere). Could there be :
A) A few bad tires thrown in the mix
B) An imbalance between last year's front and this year's rear.

We are seeing a lot of grip complaints here folks -

For now, Casey just needs to beat Nicky.Nicky is no alien, but he did win a Champions title(the same number as his teammate),whether Vale was at his best or not is immaterial. The rest of the field had an equal chance to take advantage of that situation, only one did. He is showing himself to be a hard working professional,never a whine or whimper, through the Honda cast-off or his troubles last year. He has worked hard to help Ducati straighten out the bike for someone other than Casey(to Casey's detriment it seems,unfortunately)To call Nicky an alien(whatever that really means) would seem premature. However,he now trails, at this early stage, only 4 other riders, so I think we can find something in him to cheer about if we so choose. Vale will get healthy and give Jorge a healthy run for his money. Dovi is in the thick of it. Dani is riding for his reputation and future and showing a fighters spirit. It is very early, as everyone knows. As for the derisive comments about what and when folks do or don't ride, I don't think anyone is impressed,excepting the author of same.

Deleted posts?? I hope this is not for real but if it is, very upsetting that we can't discuss the hottest topic from Sundays race. Seriously??? All of our posts? I mention Casey's crash and what he may or may have not said about his teammate and the dicussion post numbers go from 12 to 41 and that's not a good thing? I know you can't control guys getting on here and flaming others but my post had legitimate, meaniful content.

Please tell me this didn't happpen.

Yes, the wheat had to go out with the chaff. I do not have a spare couple of hours to clean up posts, and separate the sensible points from the flaming. Sorry if that's upset you, but that's the way it is. And I'd rather have 10 interesting and intelligent comments than pages and pages of pointless discussion. Check my post below for the reasons.

Lets all just hope that Casey stays upright and no wall goes up between the two garages. Now wouldn't that be an interesting post?

But I don't think it's going to happen. Both Stoner and Hayden keep emphasizing that that's not how they do things at Ducati. They share data, and they both enjoy the atmosphere. Hayden especially keeps emphasizing that he has a really good relationship with Stoner, and that he's glad they work as they do. Stoner also keeps hammering on about not having a wall, saying "we don't need a wall" clearly a little dig at Yamaha and Honda. The vibe really is good in that team. Except for the dodgy front end issues!

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have had the sad duty to go through this thread and delete a huge bunch of comments, because too many of them contributed little more than bile. Sadly, a lot of excellent points were lost as well, because they were either replies to poorly thought-out comments or contained in a comment along with other detrimental factors. I have left a few comments which are completely on the borderline, and which might yet disappear.

What's worse is that I'm having to do this from a fast-food restaurant with free wireless, because I'm stuck in France after my bike broke down, it's a public holiday and the earliest I am likely to get home is Thursday. This also explains why I haven't posted the full comments from the riders after the race. This is a difficult and frustrating time for me right now, as I'm stuck in a hotel where the wifi is broken and isn't going to be fixed in a few days. I do not have time to babysit the site, especially as I do not expect to have to. 

Some of the most senior journalists in the paddock have complimented me on the site, not about my writing, but about the quality of the comments. They have been very impressed by the contributions we have been lucky enough to receive from people commenting on stories. The comments on this story are a lot less likely to impress them, sadly.

So, please can we get back to intelligent comments. My proudest achievement in this site is the quality of contributions from readers. Please can we return to the normal very high standard of contributions, at least until I get back home at the end of this week?

For the record (I was actually at the Stoner post-race debrief), Stoner did not throw Hayden under a bus, he took the blame for the incident, and the only thing he complained about is not understanding why this happened. The Ducatis have a front end problem. Nicky also said he had a couple of big saves, and Stoner carried the bike on his elbow, then his knee for 20 meters before the rear finally came round on him.

The real story, for those of you interested in intrigue and suspense, is not at Ducati at all. The real trouble in the Honda garage. I shall be posting a fuller story on this later this week, along with the sorry tale of my personal disaster of a weekend.

I get why you do it. But I have to say that between the garbage and then having one's comments deleted it leads one to think, 'why bother?'.

If I was not stuck in France with a gazillion other things to do, I would have monitored the situation more carefully, removed the one or two poisonous comments, edited others, and this would not have turned into a flame war. However, although I have the inclination, I don't have the time. So, everyone, please keep posting, there's lots to discuss. But please count to ten before posting, and read what you have written before submitting, and think about whether it adds anything to the argument.

I really am sorry to have had to act so harshly. It is not my usual style (I only usually delete about one comment a week), and I hope never to have to do it again. 

Lorenzo's performance was impressive. His race strategy definitely has matured since last season. When was the last time someone pulled a Rossi on Rossi? He will have his hands full fending off this challenge.

Now all Lorenzo needs to do is sign early and for cheap with Yamaha for next year to put the pressure on Vale to make a decision and reduce his leverage with Yamaha for the big dollars. It will also let Jorge only need to concentrate on racing while Vale wonders how he allowed himself to get into this position.

Too bad to hear about flaming posts, I guess it is one of the prices of success. As your site gets more popular it may (unfortunately) be more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, we'll always have the best articles to read, even if the comments are below par.

Hope the trip back home improves quickly!

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

I am of the opinion that Yamaha will do everything possible to keep Rossi regardless of Lorenzo's course of action. They will give him huge bucks because he will pay marketing dividends for decades to come if he finishes his career with them.
About Jorge, I think he looks really, really strong this year. I said last year if his racing just became a little more consistent, he'd be near unstoppable. It looks like that's what's happening.

The motomatters community enjoys the insights from key players in the game, such as team owners, who obviously have respect for the quality of the site or they would not open up in the way in which they do. Such respect is earned, not just given. Your explanation above should be more than sufficient to explain why it was necessary to delete some comments and hopefully that won't be necessary in future.

And hey - we are all on the edge of the seat for the Honda scuttlebutt.

Heck yeah there are troubles at Honda! It's funny, since watching the race, I've been holding my breath waiting for the story behind the trouble in the Honda garage. I figured David would come through, so I've been keeping tabs on the site.

It's rare that you get a rider actually admitting to trouble in the garage in a post-race press conference like that, but it seemed to me that Dovi spoke of revenge and that his primary motivation is to finish ahead of his teammate. Wow! Interesting stuff.

Hate to say it, but I also think this may be Lorenzo's year. The guy's a machine. He's like Ice Man to Rossi's Maverick. (Ha!) Anyway, that was a BIG margin of victory in a dry race to not be anything but worrisome.

I am REALLY enjoying watching Nicky ride a bike this year. He's confident, he's sliding it around, he's attacking other riders like he truly believes he belongs. Fun to watch!

Wish Stoner could keep the bike up. Like him or not, there's nobody on the grid that's more fun to watch throw a bike around the track. And the more people near the front the better the racing is always going to be. It's too bad, too, because if you look at the race pace all weekend, I think Stoner had the best shot of competing at the pointy end of the race. At this point I'm really not sure why Ducati doesn't just revert to last year's bike with Casey and fork the development to keep both riders competitive and upright. It's almost like Casey's odds of bringing the bike home IMPROVE the harder he has to ride it to fast. Strange, but it's there for you to see.

Mugello's always a killer race. Can't wait!

I was away for the weekend so missed all the fuss here, but after a race with the events as they were you just know it is going to happen. But there already are many sites where people can talk shit and this is not one of them.
My five cents: Lorenzo is going to be a serious threat to Rossi. The guy has really matured over the past two years and is mentally super strong. This year, the master of mind games will have to work hard not to get Lorenzo in his head.
As for Stoner, things are looking tough. I don't think it is a mental problem, but if technical problems stay long enough they will become a mental problem. I really hope he can keep it together.

"I would like to come back here next year on an official bike and fight for the victory." His ambitions are clear! He certainly deserves a chance.

I would love to see what RdP could do on a factory bike. He has become more disciplined and there is no denying that he is fast when he is on. If he could learn what Dovi has, I think he might be faster.

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