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PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Hopeful for Good Fortune in France

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Hopeful for Good Fortune in France

Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi in action at Le Mans this weekend, after achieving team’s first 2021 podium.

Following on from a successful and productive test last week, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi are hopeful of good fortune at the upcoming Grand Prix de France this weekend at Le Mans, after Morbidelli achieved third in the previous round.

Morbidelli will also be hoping for a less dramatic FrenchGP race start this year, after his getaway from the line was hampered by avoiding another rider’s incident in 2020. The Italian does have previous good form at Le Mans though, taking a Moto2 race win there in 2017. Franco also goes into the fifth round of the season riding the wave of success, after claiming his first podium finish of 2021 last time out and completing a fruitful one-day test in Jerez last week, which saw him able to test new parts and focus on improving the braking capability of his bike.

Team-mate Rossi was also struck by bad fortune last year in France, with rain falling just before the start of the race helping to cause a first lap crash for the Italian. Valentino does hold a brace of good results at Le Mans though, with the most recent of his 13 MotoGP/500cc podiums – of which three were victories – occurring in 2018. Like team-mate Morbidelli, Rossi was also able to enjoy a successful one-day test last week at Jerez, which saw him make improvements with the race pace and the feeling of his Yamaha YZR-M1. He will be hoping that these improvements bear fruit in France this weekend.

The FrenchGP will commence for Morbidelli and Rossi on Friday with FP1 at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), and conclude at 2pm local time (8pm MYT) on Sunday with the 27-lap MotoGP race.

Franco Morbidelli

"Le Mans is a circuit that I like; it is where I won a Moto2 race, so I have good results from there. In the Monday test in Jerez we focused on the braking and this is a circuit where you have to be really strong on the brakes. Also the opening corners are quite tricky and it’s important to get the first corner right, to make the following ones easier. It’s difficult but really nice. I hope we can confirm the positive feedback and feeling from the test and it can be useful for the weekend. It also felt wonderful to be back on the podium in Jerez, and I hope we can continue that in our next race this weekend."

Valentino Rossi

"Undoubtedly this weekend I want to be stronger, recover positions and be faster compared to the last round in Jerez. Last year I was strong in the dry conditions in Le Mans, I was fast and had a good race pace, but it started to rain just before the race and I crashed on the first corner. It’s a great track, with a lot of changes in direction due to the chicanes and I like it a lot. With good grip and strong acceleration, it is a really nice track to ride. We hope that we can have good weather from FP1 until the end of the race. We had a good test last week in Jerez, where we were able to improve different aspects and I hope that we see this also at Le Mans."