Pedrosa takes championship lead after dominating damp French Grand Prix

Dani Pedrosa made it back-to-back victories after a masterful performance in wet conditions at France today, a performance that sees the Repsol Honda rider move to the top of the MotoGP rider standings.

With rain falling at the start of the race, it was Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who got the holeshot to lead into the first corner ahead of Pedrosa, the two riders swapping the lead a few times before Pedrosa made his race-winning pass on lap fourteen. Once in the lead Pedrosa held his position at the front to win the race by 4.863 seconds – his first MotoGP victory in France. In second place was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider overcoming the pain of a leg injury to claim his highest ever placing in MotoGP ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who made a great comeback after a slow start to take the final podium position. First of the CRT riders across the finish line was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro in thirteenth place.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Cool and wet conditions greeted the grid for the French Grand Prix, with a track temperature of just 14°C recorded at the start of the twenty-eight lap race. The conditions resulted in all twenty-four riders selecting the softer wet tyre options front and rear for the highest level of warm-up performance, although some riders went out on the sighting lap with the harder option wets, before changing to the soft option on the grid due to the cold conditions. As the race progressed the rain ceased and the sun started to shine, causing a dry line to appear on turns two, seven and eight which caused variable grip levels in different sections of the circuit.

Pedrosa now leads his Repsol Honda teammate Marquez in the MotoGP championshop standings by six points, while a further nine points back and third in the standings is Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Well done to Dani for his second win of the season in what were difficult riding conditions at Le Mans, and I’d also like to congratulate Cal on his best ever MotoGP result at the home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. We always knew that Le Mans can present variable weather, so despite the rain today which made it quite challenging for the riders, I am happy that we still had an exciting contest. Another good crowd was present this year at Le Mans and the many fans that braved today’s wet conditions were rewarded with a fantastic MotoGP race.”

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s race conditions made it quite difficult for riders with a very cold and wet track at the beginning of the race causing low grip, before a dry line appeared on some corners towards the end of the race which caused different grip levels on various sections of the circuit. This is the kind of wet race that really tests the riders and so our wet tyres had to handle the rapidly changing track conditions, particularly as the riders did not experience fully wet conditions until the beginning of the race and so perhaps didn’t have the ideal wet setup for the race. As we expected, Le Mans once again delivered a big variety in track conditions and our tyre allocation for this race weekend gave options for every situation.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“It was a very good race, I’m so happy with this one as the start of the race was hard. It was a little difficult in the beginning with the grip from the rear, but after a couple of laps I could get enough temperature in the tyres and I had a good feeling which allowed me to push more. Once I was in the front I could keep a good rhythm and managed my gap, so it is great to get my first MotoGP win at this circuit.”

Bridgestone MotoGP

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Cal Crutchlow , Aleix Espargaro , Dani Pedrosa , Marc Marquez
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing , Repsol Honda Team , Tech 3
Article type Race report
Tags dani pedrosa, france, franch gp, repsol honda