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Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 5: Le Mans, France
Wednesday, May 14 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round five of the 2014 MotoGP season takes place at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit in France, a venue that has produced some unexpected results over the years due to its unpredictable weather.
Measuring 4.185 kilometres in length, the Le Mans circuit features a ?stop-and-go' configuration with low-speed corners punctuated by a series of short straight sections. The layout places an emphasis on acceleration and braking, rather than outright corner speed and the circuit demands a good bike setup to ensure the tyres work in their optimum operating range. The relatively slow corner speeds at Le Mans make the venue the least severe circuit on the MotoGP? calendar for tyres. The low corner speeds and the generally cool temperatures at Le Mans means that the slick tyre allocation for this round uses Bridgestone's softest rubber compounds to ensure quick warm-up, high grip and excellent temperature retention. There are nine right-hand corners compared to five left-hand corners at Le Mans, so asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder are provided to riders for the French Grand Prix.
For Le Mans, Bridgestone's rear slick tyre allocation for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders will be the soft and medium compound options, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will have access to the extra-soft and soft compounds. The front slick allocation for Le Mans will be the extra-soft, soft & medium compound options. To ensure adequate tyre warm-up in wet conditions, the main wet tyre for Le Mans will be the soft compound although each rider will be able to select the hard compound wet tyre if they choose.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"After four dominant performances by Marc so far this season, we all await with anticipation to see which rider can stop his run of victories, or if he will continue his domination. The stop-and-go layout of the Le Mans circuit is quite different to the flowing nature of the Jerez circuit which hosted the last round, so it will be interesting to see which riders can use this to their advantage. The layout of the Le Mans circuit and the variable weather always makes it difficult to predict the winner for the French Grand Prix, with few riders able to win the race from pole position in recent times. Once again the Ducati and Open-class riders will have access to the extra-soft rear slick this weekend and with Le Mans being the least severe circuit on tyres on the whole MotoGP calendar, it could prove to offer quite a performance boost in both qualifying and the race."
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Le Mans is an event where we often experience cold temperatures so ensuring good warm-up performance for the tyres is very important. The circuit itself is relatively gentle compared to other circuits as well, so our slick tyre allocation for the French Grand Prix is formulated from softer rubber compounds to ensure better warm-up and grip. The circuit has a stop-and-go nature and overall, the lateral loads placed on the tyres at Le Mans are low which is another reason why we provide softer compounds here. Another performance requirement here is to provide front tyres that provide maximum stability under braking.
"The circuit has an unbalanced layout that uses the right shoulder of the tyre more than the left, so asymmetric rear slicks with harder rubber on the right shoulder have been developed for all rear specifications this year. Last year, our extra-soft rear slick at Le Mans was symmetric, but for this year we developed an asymmetric extra-soft rear slick. The unstable weather at Le Mans can have a significant impact upon bike settings and tyre choice and in previous years we have seen vastly different conditions from one session to the other so it is always a busy race for our technical team."
Scott ready to roll at Le Mans
Le Mans, France - 14 May 2014: This weekend Scott Redding returns to Le Mans, the track at which he took his maiden victory in the Moto2 class just 12 months ago.
Scott, who has collected championship points in three of the four races so far in his rookie season, is determined to re-establish himself as the fastest of the Honda RCV1000R riders this weekend in France.
The 21-year-old Briton was left frustrated after grip issues in the race at Jerez, although his confidence was boosted by a successful one-day test at the circuit following the Spanish Grand Prix. However, the experience of racing at Jerez, which is narrower and tighter than the four tracks he's tested or raced on previously this year, will stand him in good stead at the stop start Le Mans circuit this weekend.
"Le Mans was where I won my first Moto2 race last year, so I'm happy to return to the Bugatti circuit. My only real concern is the weather; Le Mans is notorious for bad weather, which makes for difficult track conditions. It will be interesting if it does rain, as I've never ridden a MotoGP bike in the wet before. I'd prefer it dry, to be honest, as I think the track will suit the characteristics of our bike, as long as we can find a bit more grip than we had in Jerez. Le Mans is narrow and tight, so it will take some time to adjust both the electronics on the bike and my riding style to suit, but I think we learned a lot that will help us with this during the Jerez race and the one day test afterwards."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Prepare for Le Mans
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."
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."