Rider Rundown: LeMans

Teams are ready to hit the track for Round 5 for the 2016 MotoGP World Championship in LeMans. Here are the factory riders’ official comments heading into the Monster Energy Grand Prix of France:

Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez:

“I like the Le Mans track although it requires that you be ready to deal with many variables. To begin with, the weather: you never know what it will do there. Last year the temperature rose significantly on Sunday and we suffered a lot with front grip in the race. Rain also isn’t unusual there. In addition, the track has a stop-and-go layout, with many slow turns where braking and acceleration are crucial. We’ll see if we find ourselves in a situation similar to Austin, where acceleration out of slow corners was a lot better than expected, or if we have to face a bigger challenge. During the last test in Jerez, we worked a lot on electronics and the chassis setting to find more grip, and on the balance of the bike to reduce wheelying. It’s always a compromise but I think we’ve gathered useful info for Le Mans and, knowing how far we’ve come since this winter and how quickly we’ve been able to react to many situations, I feel confident and look forward to starting the next racing weekend.”

Dani Pedrosa:

“I enjoy the Bugatti circuit, and we’ve had good results there in the past, but this year there are some factors to consider. In the last race I couldn’t go full-throttle on the straights because the rear tyre was spinning too much, and I think that also in Le Mans a lot will depend on how the tyre will get grip from the track. Normally this isn’t a ‘super-grippy’ track, so we’ll have to continue working on that side in order to make it better. In the Jerez test, we tried to improve our feeling, testing different things such as suspension and some other solutions thought to provide more grip out of the turns and to make the bike faster into the tight corners. We’ll see if the info collected will be useful on a practical level in Le Mans. Finally, let’s hope the weather will be kind to us.”

Source – Honda HRC

Movistar Yamaha

Valentino Rossi:

“Le Mans is a track where the YZR-M1 usually goes very well. The negative thing about Le Mans is the weather, it is always very uncertain. It can rain, it is often cold and so there are many factors that you must be careful of. Last year I had a good race but I was not able to beat Jorge, I’ll try again this year. First we will start the weekend in the same way as we did in Jerez. There we found a good set-up on Friday and this has helped us to be competitive in the race. We will do our best also in Le Mans.”

Jorge Lorenzo:

“Jerez was a good race, not perfect because of the result, but at least we could add one more podium to our tally. This season it’s going to be crucial to keep scoring the maximum number of points every race, like we did in Jerez, so we can now focus on Le Mans, where we intend to do the same. France is often tricky because of the weather, so we need to be prepared in case it rains. Anyway my target is to try to get another podium and be a constant at the front, though it’s still uncertain how we will be able to manage with the new tyres. Every race is different but we need to be focused the whole weekend and try to get the maximum from our package.”

Source – Movistar Yamaha

Ducati Corse

Andrea Dovizioso:

“With the new tyres, this year it is really difficult to know what a circuit is going to be like before we take to the track on Friday morning. Every race weekend is completely different to the previous one and so you have to start the work afresh. We have to understand how the tyres are going to work here on my Desmosedici GP, but I am confident because Le Mans is a track where I always manage to express my potential and hopefully we have the chance to be competitive and fight with the top guys.”

Andrea Ianonne:

“Today we have arrived at Le Mans, a track I like a lot. Last year it was a positive race for me and I was quick, despite the shoulder injury I picked up when I crashed in Mugello testing. My approach is therefore relaxed and positive, because this year I know that we have really excellent potential. Obviously, after the difficulties we had at Jerez, now we have to keep up a high competitive level in all the coming races.”

Source – Ducati Corse

Team Suzuki Ecstar

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m looking forward to Le Mans because I have the enthusiasm after the improvements we did at last race. In Jerez, in particular, I found a good set-up and my confidence with the GSX-RR has grown a lot. I struggled in the beginning of the season and I’m so happy to be back to the top. The bike has a lot of potential and my crew is working really hard, and with this combination I’m sure we’ll get to better results very soon. Le Mans is a particular track; very tight, and where we will need a lot of traction. We have worked a lot on this area recently as it was pretty-much an issue to us and we made big steps forward, so I hope the work we’ve done will pay off.”

Maverick Vinales:

“After Jerez I had confirmation that we made great improvements, but also that they are not enough. We have a lot of room for improvement and we must be good in exploiting our better potential. We are much more competitive than last year and this makes me confident for the job we are doing; also in Jerez in the test we made big steps forward and we found different solutions that will help us a lot. Le Mans will not be an easy track, but we are working hard and hopefully this will pay us back. We know which areas we still miss-out on and our understanding of the machine and electronics has increased a lot, so this will help us to find better solutions.”

Source – Suzuki Racing

Aprilia Racing – Team Gresini

Alvaro Bautista:

“Le Mans is a relatively small track with a lot of direction changes and really unpredictable weather. We’ll have one eye on the sky in every session! After the good weekend at Jerez, despite my crash in the race, we hope to continue improving my feeling in the saddle and the bike’s performance. In the tests after the race we put in a lot of kilometres, continuing our development programme with upgrades that we will continue to focus on in France as well. I would like to battle like I did last round, going through to Q2 in the qualifiers and battling in the top 10 zone during the race”.

Stefan Bradl:

“I’m very anxious to get to the second European round at Le Mans. We’ll have some upgrades and this is a track that I think can really cater well to the characteristics of our bike. In terms of layout it isn’t a very fast track, but there are a lot of heavy braking sections where the RS-GP has proven to perform rather well. We’ll arrive at the French round ready for action. We are working well and I’m sure that we’ll bring home important championship points here as well for me and for Aprilia”.

Source – Aprilia Racing

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