Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi heads to Le Mans with spirits high, following a good performance and race in Jerez and with a new chassis incorporated into his YZR-M1 package.
His teammate Jorge Lorenzo heads to Le Mans aiming to return to the podium, having done so only one time so far this season.
Rossi is keen to put last year’s difficult race at the French circuit behind him, after finishing the 2013 contest in 12th place.
The Italian has had nine podium finishes in the premier class at Le Mans, including three victories. Indeed those wins each came on different machinery – in 2002 riding a Honda, 2005 riding the 990cc Yamaha and in 2008 on Yamaha’s 800cc bike.
Rossi will be looking to make best use of his current prototype and the new chassis for the hard braking areas of the layout and to return to the podium at the classic French track.
Before round five he stated, “I am very happy about the weekend in Jerez, unfortunately I wasn’t able to win over (Marc) Marquez but I managed to win over (Dani) Pedrosa and Jorge (Lorenzo). 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 tire.
“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.”
Lorenzo insists he is currently thinking race by race, rather than focusing on the World Championship. Lorenzo had a tricky race at the French track last year, finishing seventh after starting second on the grid – but he does boast three premier class wins and one 250cc GP victory at the venue.
The Spaniard will be focused on a set up that allows him to keep as much corner speed as possible on the tight Le Mans chicanes and hairpins between the short straights.
Previewing round five of the season, the 2010 and 2012 MotoGP™ World Champion commented, “After the result in Jerez we were able to 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 tire 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 tire 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.”
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