Moto GP

Lorenzo extends French rule with imposing Le Mans victory

Author: Garry Morrow


Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo has stormed clear of Valentino Rossi to take his second win in a row in Le Mans yesterday, making it three victories from three races for the Fiat Yamaha Team this year.
Lorenzo lead Valentino Rossi on his way toi Victory in France
Rossi overcame a few problems with both his bike and his shoulder to finish second, with Spaniard Andrea Dovizioso third in an exciting duel with his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Rossi started from pole and got a brilliant start to lead out of the first turn, in front of some 80,000 fans delighting in the balmy weather. Lorenzo has suffered lately when starting but recent work in testing paid off as the 23-year-old slipped just one place to third, before passing Pedrosa back soon after to retake second.

The Italian and the two Spaniards soon stretched out a gap from the chasing pack and Lorenzo started to look menacing on his team-mate's rear wheel, trying to pass a few times but failing as Rossi braked deeper and deeper.

It was not until lap twelve that the 23-year-old got by his team-mate and he quickly began to pull away, as the World Champion struggled to find enough grip on acceleration to stay with Lorenzo. Casey Stoner once again crashed out after moving into third, this left Pedrosa and Dovizioso 3rd and 4th until the exciting final laps. when the Dovizioso got the upper hand and snatched tghe final podium spot.

Lorenzo eventually crossed the line 5.672 seconds ahead to take his first back-to-back wins in MotoGP and stand on top of the Le Mans podium for the second year running.

"I am so happy to win for the second race in a row, it's the first time for me in MotoGP and it makes me feel very confident in myself," Lorenzo said.

"Finally I did a good start, which I'm really happy about, then I easily got past Pedrosa. Passing Valentino wasn't so easy because he was braking so deep and I had to be very patient, something that I might not have managed one year ago! Finally I overtook him but I didn't expect to be able to go away in that way, my bike and Bridgestone tyres just felt so good and it wasn't difficult for me to keep this pace up.

"I have had a good time in Le Mans since I joined Yamaha; one second and two victories, so I think I can say I enjoy racing here in France! It is fantastic to be leading the championship but there is a long way to go and now we go to Mugello, a track that I love but where my rivals are very strong. Thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha for this great weekend," Lorenzo concluded.
Third placed Andrea Dovizioso leads Nicky Hayden on the final lap
Valentino Rossi conceded he lacked pace but was happy with second.

"I got a very good start but I knew from the beginning that we lacked some pace compared to Lorenzo and we had some unexpected problems in the race, mainly to do with grip on exit and acceleration from the corners," Rossi explained.

"I expected to be faster but it wasn't the case today. I tried to stay in front of Lorenzo but it wasn't possible and I couldn't go with him once he was past, congratulations to him because he was very strong today! I can't blame my shoulder, I had expected it to be a bigger problem but in fact it was okay until six or seven laps from the end and by then the race was over for me. I knew it was important to finish and take the 20 points, it's a long championship and we are only nine points behind. Now I am looking forward to being back on top form for Mugello, my home race."

Andrea Dovizioso won a thrilling last-lap battle for third place with team-mate Dani Pedrosa that saw Pedrosa go wide a few corners after he was passed and allow Nicky Hayden into 4th.
Nicky Hayden amde it four 4th's in a row at Le Mans
‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm so happy to have made the podium here. It was very important because I wanted to confirm that the result in Qatar was not a one-off. We have improved a lot during the winter, so this is another important step forward," Dovizioso said.

"Once I caught Dani it was hard to get past and I knew Nicky was very close behind so I had to find a way by. Dani has really good acceleration so it was difficult to make the overtake. I waited for four laps, worked out my strategy and I made my move on the last lap at the corner I‰Ûªd planned. This is a good start to the season, we worked a lot during the winter and Honda keeps working hard. We are close to the leaders ‰ÛÒ though still not close enough because our target is to fight for wins. We‰Ûªll go to Mugello with a lot of confidence as this a special race for me," the Italian concluded.

Hayden, while not disapointed, was not over the moon with his 4th place.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm about as happy with fourth as you could wish to be because I‰Ûªve struggled this weekend and once the race got started I went backwards pretty quickly. I just dug in and started going a little faster," Hayden said.

"I was pushing so hard to try and get those guys and finish on the podium but I couldn‰Ûªt get close enough. As we say in America ‰Û÷close only counts in horseshoes and washers‰Ûª but I know I couldn‰Ûªt have ridden any harder today and the team did a great job, so my heartfelt thanks go to them. I feel sorry for Casey today and his side of the garage because I see how hard they work, he is an unbelievably fast rider and he‰Ûªll be feeling disappointed right now, but you can be sure he will bounce back, he is very strong. It‰Ûªs a long season so hopefully we can both have something to smile about next time," the Texan concluded.

Pedrosa was the big loser after the Spaniard looked assured of a podium until the last lap when both Dovizioso and Hayden blew by him.

‰ÛÏWell, of course I‰Ûªm not satisfied to have finished in this way because we were able to stay near the leaders for the first part of the race and then dropped back," Pedrosa lamented.
Australian Casey Stoner had his second DNF of the season and now sits 59 points behind leader Lorenzo in the standings
"Losing two places on the final lap is not a good feeling. My start was okay and I could stay near the front in the first laps but later in the race I was making a lot of mistakes trying to maintain my pace. I had a bit of a rear brake issue which meant I couldn‰Ûªt get the bike into the turns as I wanted and I was fighting the bike a bit. Andrea rode well and pushed very hard at the end, so congratulations to him on the podium finish," he concluded/

Marco Melandri finished 6th ahead of privateer Honda rider Randy De Puniet and Hector Barbera.

Casey Stoner is now on the back foot after a measly 5th place on his score card after three races, he now sits 13th in the championship and a whopping 59 points adrift of Lorenzo.

"I‰Ûªm really disappointed because the bike has felt great all weekend, I‰Ûªve been pushing the front wherever I wanted but for some reason when the race has come around it felt like it was going to fold," Stoner explained.

"It‰Ûªs something we have to get to the bottom of and we need to do it soon because it is not good to start the season with only one finish from three races. I haven‰Ûªt changed anything with my riding style but if I need to do something then we have to work out what and I can do it. Maybe it‰Ûªs because when I‰Ûªm behind slower riders in the race I‰Ûªm not able to put the same pressure on the front. I‰Ûªm not sure at the moment, to be honest, so we need to sit down and work out what‰Ûªs best for the next race," the Australian concluded.

Lorenzo extends his championship lead to nine points from Rossi, whilst the Fiat Yamaha lead the Team standings and Yamaha the Constructors'. The next round comes at Rossi's home fortress of Mugello, in two week's time.

Main Photo: Jorge Lorenzo

2010 MotoGP France - Le Mans 23/05/2010
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 44'29.114
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 0'05.672
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0'07.872
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0'09.346
5 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0'12.613
6 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 0'21.918
7 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0'29.288
8 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0'33.128
9 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 0'33.493
10 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0'33.805
11 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 0'34.346
12 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0'37.123
13 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 0'55.061

1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 70
2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 61
3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 42
4. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 40
5. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 39
6. Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 26
7. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 21
8. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 16
9. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 16
10. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 15
11. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 13
12. Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 12
13. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 11
14. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 11
15. Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 8

1. Yamaha 75
2. Honda 52
3. Ducati 39
4. Suzuki 13

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