Few expected such a good start to the season from Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP, two podium finishes in three races, and this clear progress has put the Repsol rider back in the group of favourites to win this category. With development work still to be...
Few expected such a good start to the season from Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP, two podium finishes in three races, and this clear progress has put the Repsol rider back in the group of favourites to win this category. With development work still to be done on the Repsol Honda RC212V bike, the World Championship goes to the legendary circuit of Le Mans, where Pedrosa & Dovizioso will continue to fight to improve their performances, and take another step forward with the development of their motorbikes.
After many complaints from riders in the first three races the organisers have decided to extend the practice sessions for this GP. Now the three categories will enjoy a single one hour session on the Friday, whilst on the Saturday, MotoGP will have two sessions of 60 minutes; the riders in 250cc will also have one hour of free practice, but at the same time the qualification session is still 45 minutes.
In 125cc the French GP will be another stiff test for the Repsol riders: none of them managed to finish the race last year in spite of being in the fight to lead it; Rabat did in fact finish but only after rejoining the race after a fall when he was leading. Marc Marquez, Scott Redding and Rabat showed a very good level on this track last year, but when the moment of truth came bad luck stopped them from getting a good result.
Now they have more experience and the good sensations they had in Jerez, means that they will be especially motivated to make a special effort to round off a job that began twelve months ago. And for the rookie Cameron Beaubier it will be his first ever visit to this historic circuit, another chance to continue learning all about a new track and to gain experience that will allow him to finish among the points.
Dani PEDROSA >>
"After the Jerez race I'm quite happy to be going to Le Mans because this is another circuit I like and I hope we can go well there again. It's a track where the weather is often quite unstable and this means we usually have a busy weekend because we have to be prepared to set the bike up for a wide range of weather conditions and temperatures.
Still, we have 15 minutes more practice time in each session which should help us with this, and it'll be interesting to see how our allocation of 20 tyres copes with the extra time too. Some of our rivals' machines usually perform well at Le Mans so we need to be really focused on getting our bike to work well here. Personally, I've had some good results at Le Mans including few victories in 125 and 250, so it's a circuit I where I have quite a lot of confidence, so I hope to convert that into a good result this weekend."
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >>
"I always look forward to racing in Le Mans and I'm determined to work really hard this weekend. I know that I have to improve and we also need to focus on getting the best out of our machine package. Dani's recent results in Japan and Spain have given me extra motivation because he's shown what the bike is capable of.
I have always had good results at this track so I'm hoping I can repeat those. The circuit is quite slow and narrow, and it has a lot of changes of direction - it's a technical track. The changes to the first chicane have robbed Le Mans of part of its fascination, which is unfortunate, but it's still a circuit I like. The only issue here is the weather, because it rains quite often and we've already had enough rain this year!"
Marc MARQUEZ >>
"After the podium finish in Jerez I am dying to race again, but I will have to know how to control myself because the important thing is to finish the race, and if I am among the first five or six I will be pleased. Le Mans is a circuit where I rode quite well last year; it was the first time that I was fighting to be in the top ten.
Towards the end of the race there was a slight collision between a few riders, and I was involved, but I have a good memory of the race. KTM told me that it would be working to bring me some improvements for the bike, so I am pleased with the work that they are also doing. We will have to wait for the practice sessions to make a prediction, because there may be a rider who manages to go faster right from the start, or one with problems. We will try to finish the race and fight to be up with the leaders."
Esteve RABAT >>
"Now we go to Le Mans, and the truth is that I like it, it has a lot of zones for braking and a narrow track. And I think that suits my style, so we will see whether the French GP is a turning point where we can get more confidence and try to be up with the leaders.
We will really have to concentrate on doing a good job right from the start so that we can get ourselves a good pace quickly and then be ready for the race and be fighting to be up with the leaders."
Scott REDDING >>
"The circuit of Le Mans is a good one, and the atmosphere there is always something special, although different from what we saw in Jerez. I like it because it is a fast track, but it also has some tight corners where you have to brake really hard.
I hope that we have good weather because it usually rains there, and this year we have had rain in the first two races. Lat year I was able to ride there, my only experience of this circuit. We will see what happens on Friday with the one hour practice session."
Cameron BEAUBIER >>
"We are going to another circuit that is new for me, and I have been studying what lies in wait for me on a video game. And I have seen last year" race too, as well as some of the practice sessions, and it seems that it is a circuit that is more difficult at the beginning and towards the end.
It is a narrow track with some tight corners and I will have to take special care if it rains, because it is quite normal in France. I am pleased with the point I got in Jerez, and I hope to continue making progress, but I am aware that it is not going to be easy because this is a totally new circuit for me, and we will have to take things step by step."