Lorenzo sets record pace at Le Mans to secure win
The French Grand Prix was the venue for another dominant performance by Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, as the Spanish rider won his second-successive race this season by producing the quickest ever race finishing time at the Le Mans circuit.
Starting from third on the grid, Lorenzo was able to out-brake Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso who got the holeshot, and by the end of the first lap the Yamaha rider had already built a one second gap from Dovizioso in second place. Once in the lead, Lorenzo was never headed and although his teammate Rossi managed to pass Dovizioso for second place, he couldn’t catch the leader and as the checkered flag was waved it was Lorenzo who was the victor by 3.280 seconds ahead of Rossi in second. Finishing a further eight seconds back in third place was Dovizioso who has now finished on the podium in all but one Grand Prix so far this season. Exemplifying his dominance today, Lorenzo’s overall race time was a new record for the French Grand Prix, beating the old mark by nineteen seconds. Meanwhile, Rossi set a new Le Mans Circuit Record Lap time of 1’32.8 on lap four – smashing the previous record by seven-tenths of a second.
Conditions on race day were markedly warmer than the previous two days of the race weekend, with a peak track temperature during the race of 42°C, over twenty degrees warmer than was recorded during qualifying. Although temperatures were much warmer, the riders used the same tire combinations they preferred yesterday as there was no time to evaluate the harder front and rear tire options in warm weather prior to the race. Every rider selected the soft compound front slick for the French Grand Prix, while the soft compound option was also the most popular rear slick option, with eighteen riders selecting it. The remaining seven riders selected the extra-soft compound rear slick.
Lorenzo’s second win in a row sees him leapfrog Dovizioso into second place in the championship standings and just fifteen points behind Rossi who maintains his lead in the championship. Dovizioso is now four points behind Lorenzo in third position on the points table.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“We had a record race day crowd of almost 94,000 at Le Mans today and they witnessed Jorge set a stunning pace over the twenty-eight laps. Congratulations to Jorge for his second victory this year and also Yamaha for a commanding 1-2 result. France is an important market for Bridgestone and so I am pleased that the MotoGP riders were able to show such strong performance on our tires today, with new race lap and overall race time records being set. One great feature of this year’s championship battle is that we have so many riders capable of winning, and I can’t wait to see what the next race at Mugello in a couple of weeks’ time will bring.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“Track temperatures were much higher today but as the riders didn’t have time to properly evaluate the medium compound front and rear slicks, no one decided to use these options today. Instead, the soft compound front and rear slicks were by far the most popular choice and they performed very well, with a new race lap record and overall race time record for Le Mans being set today. Le Mans is a circuit where the tarmac doesn’t offer very high levels of grip, but thankfully the track conditions today were quite good which in combination with our revised tire allocation for this track made for some very strong and consistent performance.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Race Winner
“I had a very good start, and I could take overtake Dovizioso on the outside into turn two. It was then a hard fight with Dovizioso as the gap to him stayed at one second, and when I saw Valentino was behind me in second place, I knew I had to push more. I was able to build a gap and change my riding style to make the front tire work better towards the end of the race. To get another win is important for the championship, so I am very happy.”
French MotoGP Top Ten Race Classification
Pos Rider Team
1. Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2. Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team
4. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team
5. Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team
6. Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7. Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Yonny HERNANDEZ Pramac Racing
9. Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
10. Danilo PETRUCCI Pramac Racing