MotoGP: Results from Wet Le Mans Race

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MotoGP Press Release:

On a day that saw all three classes of the MotoGP World Championship come up against the worst weather condition seen so far this season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who retook the championship lead as he dominated in tricky conditions. He finished ahead of Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who recorded his and the Italian outfit’s best result since joining them last season.

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At the start of the race it was however Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who got off to one of his trademark starts followed closely by teammate Casey Stoner. Their lead was short lived, as Lorenzo charged past the pair and instantly pulled out a gap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also made a good start in fourth, followed by a surging Rossi in fifth.

It was heartache for the French fans from the beginning as local rider Randy de Puniet dropped his bike on the grid, and had to head out on his spare one. Near the front, Rossi soon moved past Crutchlow to take fourth, with Dovizioso following suit almost instantly. Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva’s race was ended early as he fell foul of the wet conditions, crashing out of the race in the opening stages.

With Lorenzo building a three second lead, Stoner pushed past Pedrosa to chase down his championship rival. Pedrosa seemed to struggling on the wet surface, with Rossi capitalizing on this to take third with 21 laps left. The Tech3 pair passed Pedrosa even further down the order as they looked to hunt down Rossi.

Towards the back, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies was struggling and had a wobble at the end of turn two, shortly after which he entered the pits. Karel Abraham retired with 17 laps to go, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement rider Chris Vermeulen also having to come in for a helmet change.

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As Lorenzo was maintaining his lead around the three-second mark ahead of Stoner, it was the ensuing tussle for third between Crutchlow, Dovizioso and Rossi that was providing some breath-taking overtaking in horrific conditions. Ten laps before the end it was misery for Crutchlow as he lost the front in the first chicane, leaving the two Italians to fight it out for the final podium spot, with Rossi taking third just two corners later. The Brit managed to restart his bike and re-join in eighth. Meanwhile, Lorenzo had extended his lead to six seconds at the front with Stoner a further four seconds ahead of Rossi.

With five laps to go Stoner was held up slightly by Yonny Hernandez, who was being lapped, allowing Rossi to get to within half a second of the Australian world champion. Two laps later, Dovizioso crashed out of fourth tying to stick with the pair, while down the field came Danilo Petrucci crashed out of 11th.

The last three laps gave MotoGP fans a racing delight, as old adversaries Stoner and Rossi swapped positions throughout. It was however Rossi who looked back to his old self as he passed Stoner in the first chicane on the last lap, after which he pulled out a lead big enough to secure second.

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At the end it was Lorenzo who took the checkered flag to take an eight-point lead at the top of the championship ahead of Stoner, who came home in third. Pedrosa managed fourth, while LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl recorded his best ever result in fifth, ahead or Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden. Dovizioso, who managed to re-join after crashing, finished seventh ahead of his teammate Crutchlow, while Héctor Barberá and Álvaro Bautista completed the top ten. James Ellison put in a great performance to finish as top CRT in 11th.

The MotoGP World Championship/ French Grand Prix will be televised on SPEED 05/22 2:00pm ET

Results:

1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha

2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati

3 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda

4 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda

5 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda

6 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati

7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha

8 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha

9 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati

10 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda

11 James ELLISONG BR Paul Bird Motorsport ART

12 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART

13 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART

14 Michele PIRROITA San Carlo Honda Gresini

15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR

16 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha

17 Chris VERMEULENAUSN GM Mobile Forward Racing Suter

18 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR

19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda

20 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART

21 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati

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Moto2

Tom Lüthi put in a tremendous ride to take his season-first victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans amid difficult conditions in a dramatic Moto2 race.

Pol Espargaró got the best start as he stormed into the lead along with Scott Redding. The first chicane proved difficult as Simone Corsi was bucked off his bike, with the trio of Yuki Takahashi, Randy Krummenacher and Mike Di Meglio taking each other out a few corners later.

Espargaró was trying to pull away at the front, but Lüthi and Redding were closely on his heels, with Bradley Smith and Gino Rea in tow. Takahashi’s teammate Alex de Angelis survived a scare as he slid back onto the track after coming off his bike, with the Moto2 pack doing tremendously well to avoid the rider.

Just as Rea looked to making headway, Johann Zarco went up the inside, clipping the Brit’s front wheel, and sending him into the gravel, putting an end to his first race on the new Suter chassis. Meanwhile, Claudio Corti joined the front five, with compatriot Andrea Iannone surging up the field as well.

With 17 laps to go, Espargaró ran wide, handing the lead to Lüthi and dropping into ninth in the process. Smith also had a run off track, but managed to re-join in 14th. Marc Márquez, who did not have a terrific start, was fighting his way up to the front five, as he tussled with rain-specialist Zarco.

Drama followed shortly after as the Spanish championship leader went down after loosing control of his bike, and being unable to re-join. This left Zarco to challenge for a podium, and the Frenchman soon pushed past Redding into second, followed by Corti, who put in a bold move on the Brit. With 13 laps to go, Lüthi had pulled out a lead of just over three seconds.

Ricard Cardús suffered a heavy high-side half way through the race, yet fortunately walked away unscathed. Further down the field, Espargaró was struggling to make up positions, as he was overtaken in eighth place by Anthony West, who was showing his usual prowess in the rain.

Di Meglio, who had re-joined the race after his early crash, lost control of his bike once again with nine laps to go, putting an end to his race. He was followed shortly by Corti’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami who had a high-speed crash heading into the back chicane. With six laps left, Zarco had cut the lead to Lüthi to under a second, whilst West went past Julián Simón into sixth. West’s teammate Elena Rosell was not faring as well as the Australian, as she crashed out of the race.

French heartache soon followed, as Zarco lost the back-end of his bike as he continued to push hard in the wet, handing second place to Corti and third to Redding. The main tussle in the pack was for sixth place with Redding’s teammate Kallio, West, Espargaró, Simón and Smith swapping positions in the final few laps. The unpredictability of the race was to continue until the final corner as Smith dropped his bike in the last turn, and Simón having to push his bike across the finish line due to an electrical fault.

It was however Lüthi who put in a stunning ride to take the checkered flag ahead of Corti, who recorded his first ever podium, and Redding in third, recording his first podium for 22 races. Rounding out the top ten were Iannone, Kallio, Espargaró, West, Max Neukirchner, Ratthapark Wilairot as well as Smith, who managed to salvage a few points.

Results:

1 Thomas LUTHI    SWI    Interwetten-Paddock    Suter

2 Claudio CORTI    ITA    Italtrans Racing Team    Kalex

3 Scott REDDING    GBR    Marc VDS Racing Team    Kalex

4 Andrea IANNONE    ITA    Speed Master    Speed Up

5 Mika KALLIO    FIN    Marc VDS Racing Team    Kalex

6 Pol ESPARGARO    SPA    Pons 40 HP Tuenti    Kalex

7 Anthony WEST    AUS    QMMF Racing Team    Moriwaki

8 Max NEUKIRCHNER    GER    Kiefer Racing    Kalex

9 Ratthapark WILAIROT    THA    Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2

10 Bradley SMITH    GBR    Tech 3 Racing    Tech 3

11 Esteve RABAT    SPA    Pons 40 HP Tuenti    Kalex

12 Toni ELIAS    SPA    Mapfre Aspar Team    Suter

13 Julian SIMON    SPA    Blusens Avintia    Suter

14 Nicolas TEROL    SPA    Mapfre Aspar Team Suter

15 Dominique AEGERTER    SWI    Technomag-CIP    Suter

16 Roberto ROLFO    ITA    Technomag-CIP    Suter

17 Axel PONS    SPA    Pons 40 HP Tuenti    Kalex

18 Yuki TAKAHASHI    JPN    NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter

19 Marco COLANDREA    SWI    SAG Team FTR

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Moto3

In the Moto3 race it was Frenchman Louis Rossi who kept his nerve to take his first ever win in treacherous conditions in front of his home crowd.

In a race that started in extremely wet conditions, it was Maverick Viñales who got away best, with Zulfahmi Khairuddin also making a tremendous start from 10th into second. Efrén Vázquez, who was second on the grid, suffered mechanical issues on the out-lap and was unable to start the race.

There were crashes early on as Brad Binder took out Niklas Ajo, which was followed up shortly after with Jonas Folger and local rider, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, sliding off into the gravel.

Back at the front it was Héctor Faubel and Luis Salom that went into the lead, as Viñales dropped off the pace slightly. However the conditions continued to take their toll, as Romano Fenati suffered a similar fate to last race as he also lost control of his bike, putting an end to his first French race. Kenta Fujii repeated his morning warm-up crash, rounding out a less than ideal day for the Japanese rider.

With 18 laps to go, a five-some of Faubel, Salom, Jakub Kornfeil, Miguel Oliveira and Viñales were involved in an entertaining battle for podium positions.  In the following laps, further casualties of the weather were Danny Kent, Danny Webb, Simone Grotzkyj and Jack Miller, while Fenati’s teammate Alessandro Tonucci had to retire to the pits with a mechanical problem.

With 11 laps to go there was drama at the front as Faubel crashed out of first position, with Kornfeil crashing out of third a few seconds later, handing the first three places to Oliveira, Viñales and Rossi. Half a lap later, Salom followed suit as he slid off into the gravel in ever worsening conditions.

As a thrilling fight for fourth ensued between Sandro Cortese and Khairuddin, there was further turmoil at the front, as the surging Oliveira crashed out of the lead, handing the reigns to Viñales, who was being hunted down by Rossi.

This lasted for a lap only, as Viñales threw himself of his bike in the final corner, followed shortly by Khairuddin. The Malaysian managed to keep his bike going, while the race was over for the Spaniard. This left Frenchman Rossi in the lead by over 20 seconds, much to the delight of the home crowd, with Cortese and Alberto Moncayo in podium positions. Three laps before the end Cortese lost the front going into the first chicane, yet managed to keep the bike going to re-join in sixth, with Oliveira’s teammate Alex Rins slipping into third with Niccolo Antonelli on his tail.

In the end it was Rossi who made the Le Mans grandstands cheer with delight as he took his first ever victory by a margin of 28 seconds in front of Moncayo and Rins. Antonelli could not quite challenge for the podium finishing fourth, in front of the team duo of Arthur Sissis & Cortese and Jasper Iwema.

Results:

1 Louis ROSSI FRA Racing Team Germany FTR Honda

2 Alberto MONCAYO SPA Bankia Aspar Team Kalex KTM

3 Alex RINS SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Suter Honda

4 Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA    San Carlo Gresini Moto3    FTR Honda

5 Arthur SISSIS    AUS Red Bull KTM AjomKTM

6 Sandro CORTESE GER Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM

7 Jasper IWEMA NED Moto FGR    FGR Honda

8 Alan TECHER FRA Technomag-CIP-TSRm TSR Honda

9 Ivan MORENO SPA Andalucia JHK Laglisse FTR Honda

10 Giulian PEDONE SWI    Ambrogio Next Racing Suter Honda

11 Jonas FOLGER    GER IodanRacing Project Ioda

12 Marcel SCHROTTER GER    Mahindra Racing    Mahindra

13 Kevin HANUS GER Thomas Sabo GP Team    Honda

14 Alessandro TONUCCI ITA Team Italia FMI FTR Honda

15 Niklas AJO FIN TT Motion Events Racing KTM

For more information: www.motogp.com