After a short rest from the grueling early season schedule, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP now heads to France for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France at the historic Le Mans circuit this Sunday.
Both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be keen to put last year’s difficult race behind them and return to more familiar winning ways at the classic French track.
Traditionally the French GP delivers good results for both with Rossi claiming three premier class victories and one 125cc GP win and Lorenzo claiming three premier class wins and one 250cc GP victory.
Rossi will be looking to make best use of the new chassis for the hard braking areas whilst Lorenzo will be focused on a set up that allows him to keep as much corner speed as possible on the tight chicanes and hairpins between the short straights.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro are aiming to fly high this weekend at the team's hugely anticipated home race for round 5 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
After a successful and confidence affirming post Jerez test, Smith and Espargaro will build on their positive results so far this season and put their newly acquired knowledge from the test to use in the 28-lap sprint at the 4185 metre Le Mans circuit, one of the most historically significant motorsport tracks.
Bradley Smith's notable start to the season has seen him flirt with the accolade of the leading satellite bike in the opening races, and he will be looking to break the top five in Le Mans. Whereas rookie Pol Espargaro will continue his rocket start to his MotoGP career and intends to collect his fourth top ten finish, as he consistently battles against established riders in the top half of the field.
After a well-deserved seventh place at Jerez, Aleix Espargaro aims at repeating a strong performance on the tight French track that is characterized by first gear corners, late braking and hard acceleration. Team mate Colin Edwards is looking forward to getting a good result at Le Mans, a track where he has visited the podium in 2005 and 2008.
"I am very happy about the weekend in Jerez, unfortunately I wasn’t able to win over Marquez but I managed to win over Pedrosa and Jorge. I am also happy about the test done on the following Monday at the same track. During the test I continued to work on the new chassis and I like it, it helps me especially with the front tyre. At Le Mans I will have only one new chassis but I am confident that Yamaha will bring me the second chassis as soon as possible. I want to continue the work on this. I made good times during the test, even the "time attack" was good and so I will try to start from the front row at Le Mans. It’s a positive moment for me because I'm pretty fast, I work well in the box and I think we can be very optimistic. We can have a good race".
“After the result in Jerez we could analyze the data during the test on Monday and we got some good information. We finished that test day happy with the result and we could figure out where the problem was during the race. We found that with the soft rear tyre we are much more comfortable than the hard one and therefore from now on we will be focused on this compound. We will try to get a more constant bike with the soft tyre and that is why we need to improve the bike and adapt it. Now we travel to Le Mans, a new track and a new opportunity. The weather will play a big part, usually it is colder and can be tricky like it was with the rain last year. The asphalt can be slippery but I am confident we can manage the circumstances and try to get a good result. Right now I am just thinking race by race and not about the championship. I think I will have a better pace there, I have had some wins in Le Mans and I like the circuit.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“The post-race test in Jerez went pretty well: we found a good package to be consistent and fast with both riders. Le Mans in the past has been a good circuit for Yamaha and also for Jorge and Vale. As with the last four rounds the competition will be very tough but we are confident we can put up a good fight at the front. Le Mans is usually wet so we’ll have a different weather challenge which should make things interesting. As always we are looking forward to getting set up and started on Friday morning!”
“I am looking forward to the Grand Prix de France and doing my best for the Tech3 team in their home country. I won the race here in 2010 in the 125 class, and have always enjoyed the circuit. I am still learning step by step, but am feeling really confident, especially after testing a few things on the bike in the test after the Jerez race. I feel very optimistic in achieving a good result in front of the team's fans and am excited to see what I can do aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 around the famous Le Mans circuit.”
"After a quite satisfying start to the year in terms of results, I am fully confident of battling for a positive finish at the team's home Grand Prix. We had a useful post race test in Jerez and found some valuable information, which will aid my riding and setup. I rode to my first ever podium here in the 125 class in 2007, so Le Mans holds some good memories for me and I intend to create some more here this round. It's a really technical and demanding track,however I enjoy a lot riding here and even if there is still a little work to be done, I am certain to put on a good show for the team this weekend.”
“Le Mans is a good track. There are a lot of tight corners and I think that for the characteristics of the track, we will suffer in the hard braking and in the parts that require hard acceleration. Our target remains to fight in the top five and I will give my best to get the best possible result.”
“I like Le Mans and I have good memories on this track with two podium finishes. I hope to have a better weekend, I need a good result and I will do my best working with the team each session to prepare for the race as best as possible.”