Perfect Performance Puts Lorenzo Back on Top in Le Mans
Yamaha factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo delivered a master class in wet racing today to take a flawless victory in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Starting from fourth position on the second row, the determined Mallorcan took the lead on the first lap, immediately creating a gap to the following pack. Championship rival Casey Stoner attempted to make a small dent in the time to close Lorenzo down mid race however the race leader remained untouchable. Lorenzo crossed the finish line almost ten seconds clear to take the full 25 points and move eight points ahead at the top of the Championship standings.
Team mate Ben Spies continues to be plagued by bad luck; having made a good start the Texan slid on the start finish line paint, dropping several places. A subsequent issue with his race visor letting in water and reducing vision meant an unscheduled pit stop, allowing the majority of the field past and compromising his race. Spies finished 16th and remains 11th in the standings as they go to Catalunya in two weeks time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position 1st - Time: 49'39.743
“It was really difficult to hold concentration today, in the dry it’s complicated but in the wet it’s even more. The race feels much longer and you have to remember where the corners are slippery every lap. If you forget one you can crash very easily. I started the race determined to be in first position from the beginning and managed to keep my concentration even when Casey was catching me. It would have been easy to push a bit more and make a mistake at that moment but I waited for a few more laps to see what happened then opened the gap again to win this fantastic race. A big thank you to my team who worked very hard in difficult conditions to make a set up that worked for me.”
Ben Spies - Position 16th - Time: 50'55.642
“That was a rough race. We actually got off to a good start at the beginning then had a very big moment on the line, something happened because then I had quite a lot of water coming in through my helmet and couldn’t see much on the first five laps. I hoped it would get better but I couldn’t see anything and decided to come in because I need to see where I am going. I knew the race was gone by then so went back out to try and get some data and get better working with the bike in the rain. Circumstances meant it wasn’t a good day.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A fantastic result, a great race and a good performance by Jorge. The bike looked very good as well; a lot of grip in the rear and changing direction very well. A big thank you to the team for hard work as in the morning we still weren’t there with what we wanted. We did have a lot of rear grip and the tyre heated up very quickly so we made use of that in the early part of the race, Jorge brought it home nicely!”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We were expecting a different race but unfortunately this bad luck doesn’t want to disappear. We’re looking forward to Barcelona, we won’t give up and we will get back up to where we belong with Ben. Jorge led a perfect race; he was incredible, especially considering circuit conditions. It’s important to take the Championship lead again so let’s see what we can do in two weeks time.”
Tech 3 Yamaha thrill home crowd with Le Mans podium challenge
Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow thrilled a large crowd of over 80,000 fans in Le Mans today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders challenging for the podium in a rain-hit and exciting French MotoGP race.
Both excelled in treacherous conditions at the start of the 28-lap race to provide the most intriguing battle on the legendary Bugatti circuit with nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
The trio exchanged numerous overtakes to the delight of a partisan French crowd who were willing Dovizioso and Crutchlow to claim a home rostrum for the Monster Yamah a Tech 3 squad.
Both took it in turns to briefly head Rossi in third in a pulsating tussle before Italian Dovizioso took control of the fight on lap 13. He then delivered a masterclass of controlled aggression on a soaking wet track to lead Rossi until his compatriot fought back to snatch third on lap 19.
It was on the same lap that British rider Crutchlow's fantastic bid for a maiden MotoGP came to a disappointing end. Crutchlow was right on the back of Rossi's rear wheel when the front-end of his YZR-M1 slipped away at the second corner.
The 26-year-old remounted and despite losing 34 seconds he was still able to finish comfortably inside the top 10 in eighth to retain his place in fourth position in the World Championship classification.
Dovizioso continued to relentlessly pursue Rossi in search of his first podium for Yamaha and third in a row at Le Mans in MotoGP. He was piling the pressure on Rossi when he too suffered a small crash on lap 25 at Turn 9. He recovered to finish seventh and remains fifth in the standings.
Andrea Dovizioso - Position 7th - Time: 50'39.502
“Although the conditions were far from ideal, it was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it and I hope all the Tech 3 fans in the crowd did too. It was easy to make a mistake on such a wet track but I am really satisfied that I could make such a high pace. The battle with Cal and Valentino was hard but a lot of fun and it is a shame that I crashed while I still had a very good chance of my first podium for Tech 3 and Yamaha. I really wanted to achieve it here in the Team's home race, and also an important race f or our sponsor Monster. The last 12 laps my front tyre kept closing but Valentino couldn't escape from me and I could see we were catching Casey. I knew that I was pushing right on the limit with the tyres but I wanted to try and go with Valentino. It is a pity to crash but I'm really happy with my feeling with the Yamaha now. I was fast all weekend in the wet and dry and my Team did a great job, so we can look forward to the next races with a lot of confidence.”
Cal Crutchlow - Position 8th - Time: 50'44.895
“I'm not happy to have crashed while I was fighting for the podium, but the consolation is that at least I was battling for the top three again. Being quickest in the warm-up this morning meant I was confident going into the race but I wasn't really aggressive at the start. It was a great battle with Andrea and Valentino though but I see med to miss out on a bit of speed on the straight compared to them. That meant I had to make up all my time in the corners. It was a shame I crashed because I was fighting with Valentino and he finished second. There was a chance of the podium today but at least I was there and I lost so much time after the crash that to still finish eighth is a bonus really. Now we go to Barcelona knowing it will be tough but I will looking to be battling for the podium again.”
Herve Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“That was a really exciting race and I don't think the French fans can say that Andrea and Cal didn't put on a spectacular show and do their best to get a podium in our home race. We were strong in the dry but when it rained we were also optimistic and it was a truly great fight between Andrea, Cal and Valentino. They showed tremendous r espect to each other, making hard but clean overtakes in really difficult conditions. It isn't good for my health but certainly good for TV. At some point we thought both of them might have beaten Valentino today, but he picked up his pace and showed that he is still a class act. Cal was pushing hard to try and score his first podium and he crashed but he still managed to finish and credit to him for that. Andrea also wanted his first podium for Tech 3 and Yamaha and even though there was a big gap to Pedrosa behind him, he pushed to fight with Valentino and Casey and crashed. That can happen but I want to thank both of them for showing incredible fighting spirit. The final result wasn't what we hoped, but we still scored some points and both of them showed in the wet and dry what a competitive package we have in 2012.”