French GP: Repsol Honda race report

Pedrosa, Hayden Fight Through Rain Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden finished fourth and eighth in today's rain-affected French GP at Le Mans. Pedrosa, who started the race from pole position, ran in the lead group and only lost...

Pedrosa, Hayden Fight Through Rain

Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden finished fourth and eighth in today's rain-affected French GP at Le Mans. Pedrosa, who started the race from pole position, ran in the lead group and only lost his chance of a podium finish in the final two or three laps. Hayden, who qualified sixth fastest, lost several places mid-race when he ran off the track but kept battling hard all the way to the finish.

During the early laps Pedrosa fought an enthralling skirmish with rivals Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards and Casey Stoner. Then rain began falling at half-distance, dampening the track at the entry to the high-speed first corner, which riders attack at about 180km/h. However, the rain wasn't strong enough to bring the front-runners into the pits to change to their spare bikes equipped with rain tyres. In the closing stages Pedrosa slipped to fourth behind Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Edwards. Hayden's off-track excursion at the Garage Vert corner dropped him to tenth on lap 14, the American gaining two places as rivals hit problems.

The Repsol Honda Team will test here tomorrow, focusing on chassis settings and tyre testing with Michelin. Hayden will then travel back to the US where next weekend he will ride a demo lap aboard a 2007 RC212V before the start of the huge Indy 500 car race to promote September's inaugural Indianapolis MotoGP event.

Dani Pedrosa

finished 4th, 2nd equal in World Championship

Front tyre: 16" Michelin slick medium Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick medium

""I am sorry because we could have been on the podium but in the race I wasn't able to go as fast as I had gone during practice. From the beginning of the race I had some issues with the front tyre, I couldn't brake the way I wanted to brake. When we chose our race tyres we tried hard to choose the best tyres for the race, so we didn't expect things to turn out like they did. Then in the second half of the race I started to lack some rear grip. When Lorenzo passed me I tried to go with him and not lose contact but I couldn't manage it. I gave my maximum and despite the problems we finished fourth, which isn't so bad. We are second equal in the championship and we will continue to work hard to achieve better results at the next races. We stay here tomorrow for one day of testing when we will try to understand what happened today and make another step forward."

Nicky Hayden

finished 8th, 7th in World Championship

Front tyre: 16" Michelin slick medium Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick medium

"That wasn't too pretty. All weekend we've been missing something, the pace hasn't been there. I got a good start and recovered a couple of positions but couldn't go with the group I needed to go with. I was hanging in there, then I ran off the track in turn six, got in just a little bit hot, didn't make it and that lost me three positions. I came back on, had a little dice with Loris over the last few laps but it wasn't the result we wanted. It was definitely tough conditions, it wasn't just a few drops of rain it was straight-up raining through some parts of the track. With the tyres being that hot the lap times didn't suffer too bad, but I was kinda hoping the rain would come down and let us swap bikes and try something different, but it didn't happen. This has never been an easy track for me, I'd say Le Mans is the worst track for me on the calendar. Tomorrow we'll work on chassis stuff. I need to try getting some momentum going, especially for the tracks I really love that are coming up. I need to be strong when I get to them, I need to use the people around me to find what I need."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Racing is never easy and today was a difficult day. Dani didn't make the podium but he still got a good points score which is good for the overall championship situation. We stay here tomorrow to work on the chassis set-up to put us in the best-possible situation for the next race where we will once again target victory. Nicky had a difficult weekend here but I am confident he will be stronger at the next races."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team