Yamaha French GP Preview

Le Mans Bugatti Circuit

Yamaha Factory Racing Riders Prepare for Round Four in France

Jorge Lorenzo heads to Le Mans this weekend for the French round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship in confident mood. Having celebrated his 24th birthday last week the reigning World Champion will be looking to extend his unbroken run of podium finishes so far this year. An impressive race win at Jerez in treacherous racing conditions and two superb second place podium finishes at Qatar and Estoril mean Lorenzo is the current Championship leader with a four point lead over fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa. Le Mans has so far delivered great results, Lorenzo winning there the last two years consecutively and not forgetting a victory in 2007 in the 250GP class.

Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies arrives in France determined to break his run of bad luck with two DNFs from the last two rounds. Spies last visit to Le Mans in 2010 was also hit by misfortune, a big high side in the final free practice session seeing the American tackle qualifying and the subsequent race in some pain with a swollen ankle, ultimately resulting in a crash on the seventh lap and a DNF.

Both riders will be hunting a set up that delivers optimum balance and control under hard and repeated braking. Success at Le Mans requires dispatching several tight chicanes at the beginning of the circuit then attacking the short straights and tight hairpins that make up the remainder. Although arguably most famous for the Le Mans 24HR race, the iconic circuit draws huge crowds for the French MotoGP race.

Polesitter Jorge Lorenzo celebrates
Polesitter Jorge Lorenzo celebrates

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo

"I am coming back to Le Mans, a track I really enjoy and where I won last season. The people in Le Mans love motorbikes, they love the smell of fuel. We are on the top, but we should be focused on getting as many points as possible. Our main goal is the podium, our fourth podium, and to be in front in Montmeló. This track has a lot of chicanes and is funny for me. The weather is always changing, we have to be careful with the forecast, it can change everything."

Ben Spies

Ive had a really relaxing few days off after Estoril back home in Como, Italy. I had a good chance to get out on my bicycle and really work off some of the frustration from the race. Having felt so good at the start I really believed we could have delivered some strong results in Portugal. Anyway, we all move on together and as a team were coming to France determined to make up for it and really kick off our 2011 season again.

Wilco Zeelenberg

We had a fantastic test in Estoril, everybody was surprised with the good weather so we had the opportunity to try many things. Were looking forward to Le Mans; Jorge has always been good there. Hopefully weve found our way back from the test to an improved setting so Jorge can go back to his old riding style of fast corner entry which he was missing a little for the first three races. Weve given that back to him so were confident he can perform well in France and for the rest of the season. Le Mans is a Yamaha track, it works well for us so its also a great place for Ben to come back and aim for the podium.

Massimo Meregalli

We left Estoril with some good points from the test and some valuable information. We are going to Le Mans with good confidence to continue our strong performance. Jorge intends to keep his performance high; he has already proved he is strong at Le Mans. Ben has had a challenging start to the year however we had a really good test at Estoril and we are confident he will kick start his championship attack on Sunday in France.

-source: yamaha

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Ben Spies , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Tags lemans, lorenzo, spies, yamaha