Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Moviestar Yamaha MotoGP Team, GP of Le Mans race, May 17th 2015
MotoGP: Flawless French Finale for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo repeated his stunning performance from Jerez at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, taking his second consecutive victory. Teammate Valentino Rossi also rode a brilliant race at Le Mans and took second place, his fifth consecutive podium finish of the 2015 MotoGP season.
Le Mans (France), 17th May 2015
After an amazing victory in Jerez, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo dominated the MotoGP field for a second time in a row, taking a sensational victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Valentino Rossi also showed a blistering pace in the French sunshine at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit. He claimed a strong second place and his fifth podium finish of the season.
Lorenzo was strong right from the beginning of the 28 lap sprint. Starting from third on the grid, he shot off the line to take second into the first turn and move into the lead going into the second corner. Followed by Andrea Dovizioso, he completed the first lap with already nearly half a second advantage over his rivals.
With clear track in front of him, the double premier class World Champion put the hammer down and rode consistently fast lap times in the 1‘33s to manage a gap of half a second. Completely in control, Lorenzo remained unchallenged for the rest of the race. Leading from the first lap until the chequered flag, the Spaniard claimed his second consecutive victory by 3.820s, with only his teammate besting his fastest lap of 1‘33.004.
Teammate Rossi thoroughly enjoyed today‘s racing action, fighting his way up the order from his seventh place grid position. The Doctor had a good start and quickly moved into fifth position to hunt down Marc Marquez, passing him with a brilliant move on his third lap.
The nine-time world champion then set his sights on Andrea Iannone and increased his pace, posting a 1‘32.879, the fastest lap of the race. With 18 laps to go Rossi made the audience cheer as he took third place and immediately put his next target, Andrea Dovizioso, under pressure. Displaying some very clever racing, he lined his rival up and made his move at end of the fourteenth lap. Unable to close in on his teammate, who had a gap of more than 1.8s, Rossi focused on managing his advantage over Dovizioso and took a well-deserved second.
Lorenzo‘s first place earns him 25 points, while Rossi‘s fifth podium of the year adds 20 points to his score. These results put The Doctor on 102 points, keeping him in the lead for the championship, with teammate Lorenzo moving up to second in the championship with a 87 points total.
Before the race I was a little bit worried about the front tyre on the right side, because it was close in some corners. Sometimes that‘s worse in the race on Sunday, because it‘s hotter at two o‘clock and you have more fuel in the tank and push more on braking. On the third or fourth lap it started closing, and I started worrying that I had an ever worsening tyre in the next laps, but luckily for us the tyre stayed more or less the same. It was close in the whole race, but not becoming worse. I was pushing the whole time and when the fuel tank ran low I pushed a little bit less. So this time we have been lucky. I know that other riders also struggled with the front. I could improve in some areas because I lose out in some corners. It was important to be second and overtake Marc at the start and Dovizioso in the first corner. This is the way I prefer to ride, because with nobody in front I can brake perfectly, keep the corner speed and try to increase the gap, so that is what happened. It was difficult because Andrea kept a gap of under a second for a long time, but finally I could stay ahead by 1,2 or 1,4s. Then, when I saw Valentino in second place and in some place close in a little, I had to try to push so much, especially on braking, I could brake later and later and rode a 1‘33,004, which gave me the advantage I needed to win this race. Winning two races in a row after finishing outside of the podium in three Grand Prix is a big contrast. These are much better results, but you have to keep your feet on the ground and not hesitate, because things can change very quickly and I can have bad results in the future. Mugello is a good track for Yamaha and especially for me, because it‘s my favourite track, but Valentino is also very fast there, so who knows what‘s going to happen.
I‘m happy but we struggled too much to find the right setting in the practice, so we decided to risk and modify the bike before the race. I have to say thank you to my team because they worked very well, my bike today in the race was fantastic and I was able to push, recover and overtake and I was especially able to enjoy riding a lot. I started from the third row and Jorge is always very fast at the start. I had a small gap but I enjoyed the race a lot, because I could overtake and ride at the maximum. Around half way through the race I arrived in second place behind Jorge. He had around two seconds so I wasn‘t so far behind him and I tried the maximum, because I felt good, but he was in a perfect situation. He was in front and concentrated and he was in his “hammer time”. When he‘s like that it‘s very difficult to come close to him. This weekend he was stronger than us and was better prepared for the race, so he deserved to win, but I‘m happy, also for Yamaha because this year our bike is very strong. These twenty points are very important for the championship. We arrived late at the front, but we arrived and it was another great race. We struggled in the practice, I think that‘s also due to our bike a little bit, because Jorge also struggled, while he‘s always great at putting out one fast lap. That‘s our weak point, but on the other side, in the race our bike is fantastic, it‘s very balanced and you can push every lap and this is important. I arrive in Mugello with this great condition I‘m in and that makes me very happy. The problem is that it‘s also Jorge‘s favourite track! Today was a great result for our team, a Yamaha 1-2, and we hope that in Mugello we can reverse the order!
Massimo Meregalli, Team Director
We couldn’t ask for a better finish today, a Yamaha one-two finish is always the ultimate goal. Following Saturday’s qualifying we were quite confident of our performance, but honestly after this morning‘s warm up we still had some question marks. The end result of the race is down to the commitment and hard work of both the team and the riders who never gave up and retained 100% focus all weekend. Jorge rode an incredible race, in control from the beginning and never letting up to take his second consecutive well deserved victory. Vale also rose to the occasion, despite not qualifying in the best position he showed again his skills as a fighter to be reckoned with, cutting through the competition to finish behind his teammate in second. I have to say a big thank you to the whole team for their hard work, we leave Le Mans in the best possible way, with a one-two victory and leading the championship in the same way.