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Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans

Author: Aaryn Minerds

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Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
After dominating the pace in most free practice sessions and qualifying for pole position at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo rode his YZR-M1 to a flawless victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France to take over the lead in the championship standings.

Teammate Valentino Rossi followed up his strong win in Jerez with a brilliant race on French tarmac, crossing the finish line in second place to collect twenty vital points.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi repeated their 1-2 performances from Jerez at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, this time finishing in reversed order.

Lorenzo started the 28-lap sprint exactly as he had planned. As the lights went out he had a lightning start from pole position and took the holeshot to create 0.4s lead after the first lap. Followed by Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, he put his head down and dropped quick laps to keep a consistent gap of little more than half a second until, with 23 laps left, it was time to break away.

With clear track in front of him and behind him, the triple premier class World Champion rode consistently fast lap times in the 1'33s to manage the gap to his pursuers that had rapidly grown to more than two-seconds.

Lorenzo was in a league of his own and remained unchallenged for the rest of the race. Leading the race from start to finish, the freshly turned 29 year old marked his birthday by securing a perfect victory, with a more than ten second margin, and to top off the celebrations he also took over the top spot in the championship standings.

"I'm very happy with this victory, because everything has been almost perfect." Lorenzo commented. "In the race I knew Marquez had the chance to fight for the victory with me, or if he wasn't very fast, he would have been second or third and that would have meant he would still have kept his first position in the championship, but he crashed.

"Now in the championship three riders scored zero or very little points in one race, so in some way we are starting the championship from zero again after those races, but with us being five points ahead."
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
Rossi brought the heat to the racing action, fighting his way up the order from his seventh place grid position
Teammate Rossi brought the heat to the racing action, fighting his way up the order from his seventh place grid position. The Doctor had a challenging start from third row but quickly moved into sixth position before getting involved in a scrap with Pol EspargarÌ_ and Bradley Smith in the opening laps.

After muscling his way past his fellow Yamaha riders with strong but fair passes, he quickly went on to take fifth place from Aleix EspergarÌ_ after the third lap. The nine-time World Champion then set his sights on Marc Marquez and increased his pace as he closed down the 1.3s gap, posting a 1'33.293s, the fastest lap of the race.

With 20 laps to go Rossi moved up to fourth place as Iannone crashed out, which spurred him on to fight for a place on the podium. Having saved his tyres, he lined up his Spanish rival and under loud cheering from the fans he made his move in the Garage Vert corner on the next lap.

Now in his element he overtook his next target, Dovizioso, up the inside in Mus̩e corner. Though he was unable to stretch his lead when in second place, he kept pushing his YZR-M1 to the limit until Marquez and Dovizioso got caught out in turn seven while trying to keep up with his pace. With twelve and a half laps left to go, Rossi was no longer under pressure.

Unable to close in on his teammate, who had a gap of more than 5.2s, he focused on managing his advantage over Maverick Vi̱ales in third place and landed a second consecutive podium finish, taking the chequered flag 10.654s behind his teammate.

"I started quite badly from the third row so at the beginning it was very complicated." Rossi admitted. "I had a quite good pace so I was able to push and I was quite fast, but you have to stay quiet because it was very easy to make some mistakes.

"Step by step I arrived to the back of Marquez and Dovi and at that moment I was a bit faster. I'm so happy, because when you start from seventh position and you take twenty points it's very good, also because they are twenty very important points.

"In the championship I'm twelve points behind Jorge and seven behind Marc. This means that between us three the championship is wide open and we have to concentrate. I'm just third at this moment, so I have to think race by race and especially think of Mugello and try to be competitive there."
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR‰Ûªs Maverick Vi̱ales put in a stunning display of riding to score the first podium of his MotoGP career at Le Mans
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR‰Ûªs Maverick Vi̱ales put in a stunning display of riding to score the first podium of his MotoGP career at Le Mans, ending the race in third position and the Suzuki Factory‰Ûªs first for the new GSX-RR since 2008.

Vi̱ales, who started from eighth on the grid, chased team-mate EspargarÌ_ through the opening laps until moving ahead and then into third position with 11 laps to go to bring home Suzuki‰Ûªs first MotoGP podium since Loris Capirossi at the Czech GP. The young Spaniard had been struggling the whole weekend with his machine‰Ûªs set-up, but a further improvement on the bike allowed him to find more efficiency in the warm-up.

His crew took the best from his feedback and worked hard during the night to apply important improvements, which finally proved to be effective. His determination in the race and his consistent pace allowed him to control his advantage and get this historical result.

‰ÛÏLe Mans must be my lucky track because here I hit my first victory in the World Championship in 2011 and today I got the first podium in MotoGP." Vinales enthused. "I like it very much and I was so sorry when I saw I could not push as hard as I wanted in previous days.

"Of course I am very happy for this result, to be the first rider to take Suzuki back on the podium and for the job we have done.

"Until yesterday I was very worried about the race, but I must thank my crew and all Suzuki‰Ûªs engineers who didn‰Ûªt give up and developed a solution during the night that proved to be effective. We are doing a very intense job and this podium is a reward for my efforts and those done by the whole crew and Company.‰Û
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
The French GP was a tough race for Dani Pedrosa who nevertheless showed grit and determination to overcome his difficulties
The French GP was a tough race for Dani Pedrosa who nevertheless showed grit and determination to overcome his difficulties and bring home as many points as the situation allowed.

Pedrosa started from 11th on the grid and struggled at the beginning to get a good pace, but remained focused and recovered as much ground as possible. With some assistance also from other riders crashing, he finished in a solid fourth position and earned 13 important points to maintain fourth place in the championship standings.

‰ÛÏI cannot feel satisfied with today‰Ûªs fourth place because obviously I would prefer be much higher up the order and have better races." I give my all, but the conditions are not always there to do well.

"We are also making some mistakes, and one that is hurting us most is in qualifying, because starting far back makes things more difficult in the race. At the beginning of the race today we did not have good grip and it was hard to get enough of a feeling to go a little faster.

"The second part of the race went better, and there were some laps in which I even rode quicker than Rossi's pace, but it was too late. What makes a difference is starting well, starting high up on the grid and putting in good opening laps.‰Û
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
Pol Espargaro concluded the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France with an impressive run to his best result of the season, with a 5th place finish.
Pol Espargaro concluded the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France with an impressive run to his best result of the season, with a 5th place finish.

The young Spaniard began the day by surging to third in the morning warm up which left him fully confident for the afternoon battle. Here, the former Moto2 World Champion launched into action from the head of the second row and met the first corner in third whilst determinedly battling with the leading factory MotoGP bikes.

He built up his speed and despite running wide and getting shuffled back to 8th on lap 4, he remained focused plus maintained his consistent pace. Later in the race, on lap 21 he lunged past Aleix Espargaro and then comfortably opened a gap before crossing the finish line in 5th. This result sees him clinching the top independent position for the third time this season at the Tech3 team's home Grand Prix.

"Of course I'm pleased to conclude the weekend once more as the leading satellite rider and inside the top 5, yet after our strong performance in all the sessions I hoped to be a bit closer to the leading guys." Espargaro commented. "However, after the Moto2 race, the track became really greasy and the bike slid so much especially during acceleration so it was quite tricky to ride.

"Moreover, I was not fully comfortable with the brakes during the whole race and I made several mistakes like running wide a couple of times. It's a pity because we worked really well in the morning warm up, but finally in the race, my feelings just weren't quite the same like in the practice sessions, so we could not repeat our pace.

"Anyway, we did the best job that we could at the Tech3 team's home race and after the positives of the event we will try even harder in Mugello. Unfortunately, I dropped a position in the championship standings, but I'm still 6th and everything is really tight as I am only points behind Maverick. Next up for us is Mugello which is a circuit that I really enjoy, so I'm looking forward to getting back on the Yamaha soon in Italy."

Crossing the line in 6th position was the second of the Team Suzuki Ecstar machines as Aleix Espargaro topped of a great day for the men in Blue and Yellow. Danilo Petrucci kept his Parmac Yakhnich machine on two wheels to come home as the leading Ducati riders in 7th position, ahead of Avinta Racing's Hector Barbera.

The Aprilia Factory Racing duo of Alvaro Bautista and Stephan Bradl rouned out the top ten with a solid performance for the newest team in the MotoGP paddock.
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
Honda's Marc Marquez though relinquishing his championship lead due to his crash was able to remount his Honda to finish in 13th position
Championship leader coming into the round, Honda's Marc Marquez though relinquishing his championship lead due to his crash was able to remount his Honda and due to so many of his competitors hitting the deck through-out the race, was able to salvage some points crossing the finish line a lap down in 13th position.

"It was a pity about the crash today." Marquez stated. "I was having a good race, but these things can happen when you‰Ûªre at the limit on every lap.

"I could have opted for a more conservative race, but here you can end up far back if you do that, so today I had to take risks. In the race I saw that I was losing ground under acceleration, and I had to make that back with my braking. Finally I lost the front and crashed.

"The positive is that I managed to get three points and I‰Ûªm only five off Jorge Lorenzo in the standings, which isn‰Ûªt a lot. Now we have a run of tracks that we found a little tough last year, but they‰Ûªre quite different to Jerez and Le Mans, so I hope to be fast and have some good races."

Australia's Jack Miller looked as though he was going to score a superb finish inside the top ten despite his 18th place starting position on the grid. Moving his way forward and taking advantage of mistakes from other riders, Miller found himself in 10th position by the mid way part of the race, before a crash put him out of the running.
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
MotoGP Le Mans Results
Jorge Lorenzo Claims MotoGP Championship Lead With Wire To Wire Win At Le Mans
MotoGP Championship Standings

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