French GP: Bridgestone race report

Bridgestone-shod Rossi takes second win and claims championship lead Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has taken his second consecutive MotoGP win using Bridgestone tyres after a supreme performance in difficult conditions at Le Mans this ...

Bridgestone-shod Rossi takes second win and claims championship lead

Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has taken his second consecutive MotoGP win using Bridgestone tyres after a supreme performance in difficult conditions at Le Mans this afternoon. Rossi took the lead on lap eight after Ducati's Casey Stoner commanded an early lead and did not relinquish control, even as light rain hit the Bugatti Circuit just after the halfway mark of the 28-lap race.

Rossi's win takes the number of Bridgestone-shod wins to three in the opening five races and sends the Italian to the top of the riders' championship with 97 points, marginally ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who finished second today, and Honda's Dani Pedrosa who took fourth.

Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi took Suzuki's best joint result of the season so far with fifth and seventh places respectively, while Honda Gresini's Shinya Nakano took his fourth straight top ten result with tenth place. There was disappointment for Casey Stoner and Kawasaki's John Hopkins, who were both forced out of strong positions with mechanical issues.

The competitive level of Bridgestone's range of Le Mans tyres was highlighted by some quick lap times from all teams. All six Bridgestone-backed teams saw their riders lap competitively in the dry conditions with Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki and Kawasaki all inside the top half of the field in terms of fastest laps of the race with Rossi, Stoner, Vermeulen, Capirossi and Hopkins setting personal bests under the 1m35s mark.

Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit

"That was a very exciting race and we must congratulate Yamaha for a podium clean sweep and to the Fiat Yamaha Team for their first one-two of the season. Naturally, we are very pleased to see Valentino winning using our tyres today; he did a truly incredible job in the tough conditions. After the rain-affected race last year at which our riders excelled, it was another mixed weather day today, making life difficult for all the riders. To score our second consecutive French GP win is very pleasing, and across all our teams and manufacturers there were some very good performances, which leads us into this busy run of European races with extra determination."

Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development

"I am generally pleased with the performance of our tyres here at Le Mans this weekend. All throughout practice many of our riders have been on the pace and we take great pride in the development steps we have made since Qatar. We used many different specification rear tyres with our riders this afternoon and the results were encouraging, not least with Valentino's excellent victory. Unfortunately, Casey experienced a strange problem with his front tyre after just a few laps, with some unusual degradation, which affected his performance level. It was the same specification front tyre that has enabled him to perform so strongly all weekend, so we will look into this matter very closely with Ducati to determine the cause. Even with this problem he was able to maintain a strong pace and fight near the front, which would undoubtedly have resulted in another podium without his eventual mechanical issue."

Valentino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha Team - Race Winner and Championship Leader

"It was a great race and it is fantastic to reach my 90th career win to catch Angel Nieto; it is like a dream for me. I didn't expect to be so fast today, but we made some good modifications to the bike in the morning warm-up which made a big difference. The Bridgestone tyres had a fantastic grip, which helped me build up a good advantage. When the rain started, I tried to ride very sweetly round the corners because I didn't want to come in and change bikes. There was enough grip to continue, and now we have taken our second win in a row, the first time since 2006, so we are back in business and ready for Mugello."

Weather: Dry - Air 20C, Track 36C ( Bridgestone measurement)

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Angel Nieto , Dani Pedrosa