Following today's testing day at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be all set to go to work on their 2020 MotoGP World Championship quest again this weekend at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit.
Viñales holds third in the championship standings, 18 points from first, as he prepares for the triple header held over the next three weeks, starting in France. Knowing that the Le Mans track usually is well-suited to the Yamaha YZR-M1‘s nimble character, he is approaching this round with a positive mindset.
The number-12 rider‘s goal for this weekend is to pay a visit to the French premier class rostrum again, of which he has fond memories. In 2017 the Spaniard secured a hard-fought win there, and one year earlier he scored a third-place race result.
Rossi made frequent appearances at the front of the field lately, but suffered two-consecutive luckless NC results in Misano and Catalunya. Because of this, the Italian is currently joint tenth in the overall rankings, 50 points from the top. But there are still six rounds left and a maximum of 150 points to gain, leaving the championship battle wide open.
The Doctor is determined to create himself another opportunity to climb onto the podium. Traditionally, he scores competitive results at the Grand Prix of France. Throughout his premier class career he has collected three victories at Le Mans (2002, 2005, and 2008), six second places (2003, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016), and four third places (2000, 2001, 2011, and 2018).
The Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit was built in 1965, just a few kilometres from the city of Le Mans. MotoGP made its first visit to the iconic French track in the late sixties, and it remained a fixture until 1995. After some safety modifications, the 4.2km-long circuit was added back to the calendar in 2000. Its lay-out of five left and nine right corners places the emphasis on late braking, hard acceleration, and rear-end traction, which makes for some great battles, such as the head-to-head between Viñales and Rossi in 2017 to score Yamaha its 500th Grand Prix win.