Repsol Honda Team head to Le Mans with momentum on their side
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa are en route to France after an incredible start to 2014, with Marc winning the first four races from pole position and Dani scoring a very positive 72 points from a possible 100, with two 2nd places and two 3rd place finishes. Thankfully Dani has healed well from his minor surgical operation last week to treat compartmental syndrome, in order to fix discomfort in his right forearm. It took just two incisions to enter the forearm, freeing the flexor and prone-extensor muscles in the appendage via minimally invasive microsurgery.
The Le Mans Bugatti circuit, very different from the much longer 24-hour car track, returned to the GP calendar in 2000 after an absence of four years, during which time the French GP was run at Circuit Paul Ricard in Provence. The track's character is very stop-and-go, with plenty of slow turns where braking and acceleration performance are crucial. Riders and their engineers concentrate on honing their machines' stability during braking, as well as improving rear-end traction for the numerous hairpin exits.
The 4.18km circuit features the same start-finish straight as the Le Mans 24hr event and a blindingly fast right-hander leading to the famous Dunlop chicane. Following this quick start to the lap, the stop-start character becomes evident, with a slow right-hander leading on to the main straight. It is one of nine right hand turns, and four lefts.
Dani has finished on the podium 7 times in Le Mans including an emphatic win in atrocious conditions during the MotoGP race last year and three victories in the lower classes (2003 in 125cc, 2004 and 2005 in 250cc). Marc has had mixed results at this circuit, including three DNF's, but endured his first wet MotoGP race here last year and came through the field to take 3rd. He's also enjoyed a victory in 2011 (Moto2) and a podium in 2010 (125cc).
Championship Standing: 1st - 100 points
"After another really great weekend in Jerez and a positive day of testing on Monday, we are now on our way to Le Mans. You never know what the weather will do there so it is important to start strong from FP1. Last year we had our first wet race here and I really learned a lot, but this year I hope it will remain dry! We know that Dani, Jorge and Valentino will come back at us hard here, but we will work on our own programme - as usual - and fight for victory or at least some important Championship points"
Championship Standing: 2nd - 72 points
"I enjoyed the weekend in Jerez, and the battle at the end with Rossi was a lot of fun. After Monday's test I had a tight feeling in my right forearm. On Tuesday morning I went to see Dr. Mir and he recommended surgery immediately. We took his advice and it seems to be healing up well but I guess I won't know until I'm back on the bike on Friday for FP1. I won for the first time in Le Mans in MotoGP last year in a very tough race. I enjoy the circuit and we've had good results there in the past but we must always pay attention to the weather! The testing in Jerez was useful and we confirmed some feelings, now we must see if they translate to the track this weekend"