Latest MotoGP Results
Alex Rins ended an incident-packed FP2 session for the Moto3 class on top of the timesheets, in a session cut short by the weather. The Estrella Galicia rider just edged ahead of Mapfre Aspar's Jonas Folger, while Luis Salom took third spot half a second behind Rins, and just ahead of Maverick Viñales. British rider Danny Webb ended in fifth, ahead of Niklas Ajo and Webb's Ambrogio teammate, Brad Binder.
A change in the weather thwarted Viñales' forward progress. The Red Bull KTM rider had fallen on his out lap, taking his time to get going again once he had returned to the pits. Spots of rain started falling shortly after the halfway mark, becoming more serious with some five minutes or so left, sending everyone back into the pits. A number of riders crashed during the session, though most of them during the dry first part, rather than due to the rain, with Efren Vazquez coming off worst, being taken to the Medical Center with a suspected fractured collar bone.
Scott Redding has ended the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Le Mans firmly in charge of proceedings. The Marc VDS Racing rider seized control in the first fifteen minutes of the session, and kept the lead all the way to the end.
Redding was challenged by his main title rival Pol Espargaro, but the Pons Tuenti HP 40 rider stranded a tenth off Redding's time. Tom Luthi grabbed third spot, the Swiss rider now starting to recover from the horrific arm and shoulder injury he suffered during preseason testing, while Jerez winner Tito Rabat ended the session in fourth, just under half a second off the time of Redding. Two more Spaniards grabbed fifth and sixth, Nico Terol finishing ahead of Julian Simon.
Dani Pedrosa has topped the timesheets in the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Le Mans. The Repsol Honda man was strong throughout practice, and held off a late challenge from Jorge Lorenzo to take first blood in France. Lorenzo was not far off, however: on his final lap, he got to within four hundredths of Pedrosa's time, setting the scene for a very close weekend.
Valentino Rossi also had a strong start, taking third spot behind his Yamaha Factory teammate, three tenths off the time of Pedrosa and ahead of a pair of Ducatis, Nicky Hayden grabbing fourth while Andrea Dovizioso secured fifth. Cal Crutchlow ended the session in sixth place, ahead of Marc Marquez, who is still learning his way around the track on a MotoGP bike. The two satellite Honda riders follow in eighth and ninth, Alvaro Bautista a couple of tenths quicker than Stefan Bradl, while Hector Barbera made his way into the top ten to grab the final spot in the provisional line up for QP2.
Maverick Viñales has set out his statement of intent, topping the first session of free practice for the Moto3 class with a late charge. The Spaniard deposed both Alex Rins and Jonas Folger, after Folger had controlled the second half of practice. The session got underway with a few spots of rain, but, that soon cleared up and temperatures rose dramatically towards the end of practice, meaning times dropped.
Three races into the 2013 MotoGP season, and the Yamaha Factory Racing team have been forced to tear up the script they had written for themselves after preseason testing. Their original goals were for Jorge Lorenzo to win as often as possible in the early part of the season, building a lead at the tracks at which Yamaha is supposed to be strong, then defend that lead in the second half of the year. Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, was to finish adapting to the Yamaha once again and get on the podium ahead of the Hondas as much as possible, to help build out Lorenzo's lead in the championship.
The plan worked perfectly at Qatar. Lorenzo was untouchable in the race, and won easily. Rossi showed he still had it by getting on the podium and taking second, while the first Honda was Marc Marquez in third. This worked out even better than expected, as although Marquez is clearly an exceptional talent, the real title threat, Yamaha believed, would come from Dani Pedrosa.
Race two, at Austin in Texas, went a little better and a little worse than anticipated. That Marquez would win there had been expected, after all, the Repsol Honda rookie had been quickest at the test. But Marquez' advantage over Lorenzo - and especially the gap from Pedrosa to Lorenzo - was much smaller than they had feared, putting Lorenzo within striking distance of the Repsol Hondas. For Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, things did not go so well, the Italian never feeling comfortable on the bike, and finishing behind two satellite riders, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow and the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl.
Race three is where the plan started going horribly wrong. The Yamaha men arrived in Jerez supremely confident, after having dominated preseason testing there. Jerez was the start of a run of Yamaha tracks, where Lorenzo and Rossi - and maybe even Cal Crutchlow - would really start to shine, and put some clear blue water between themselves and the Repsol Hondas. It did not work out that way: the Yamahas struggled against the mighty Hondas, and Dani Pedrosa took a very easy victory. Adding insult to injury, Marc Marquez bumped Jorge Lorenzo out of second place, robbing the Yamaha man of the lead in the championship, and putting both Repsol Hondas ahead.
And now MotoGP heads to Le Mans, yet another track that is supposed to favor the Yamahas. Given Jorge Lorenzo's utterly dominant win in the soaking rain at the French circuit in 2012, it is easy to think that the Yamahas should have an easy time of it here. The danger is that riders, teams and fans follow the comfortable assumption that Le Mans is a Yamaha track, disregarding recent history there.
Marc Marquez topped the timesheet at the end of the one-day test at Jerez, the Repsol Honda man setting his fastest time of the weekend as his team solved some of the front-end issues which had been dogging the Spaniard. Marquez' lead was very slim, however: less than a tenth of a second faster than Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow, and a little more than a tenth quicker than Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Fourth fastest man was Valentino Rossi, but the Italian was nearly six tenths slower than Marquez.
While Honda focused on suspension and electronics - only a partial success, judging by the body language in Dani Pedrosa's pits, the Repsol Honda man gesturing that the rear was still moving around too much for his liking - Yamaha tested a new chassis, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi alternating between the 2012 and 2013 chassis, and Bradley Smith testing the same chassis which Cal Crutchlow has been using this year (the one used by the Factory Yamaha team from Aragon onwards). Smith pronounced himself pleased, finding a clear improvement in braking stability which helped with his consistency. Rossi and Lorenzo, however, were still undecided between the two chassis, both versions offering improvements in some areas, but losing out in others. Lorenzo came down largely in favor, but Rossi is still not convinced of the benefits.
Test times at 2pm:
Race Results and summary for MotoGP:
Race Results and summary for Moto2:
Race Results and summary for Moto3:
Results and summary of qualifying for Moto3: