Jorge Lorenzo stormed clear of Valentino Rossi to take his second win in a row in Le Mans this afternoon, making it three victories from three races for the Fiat Yamaha Team this year. Rossi overcame a few problems with both his bike and his shoulder to finish second, with Spaniard Andrea Dovizioso third.
Rossi started from pole and got a brilliant start to lead out of the first turn, in front of some 80,000 fans delighting in the balmy weather. Lorenzo has suffered lately when starting but recent work in testing paid off as the 23-year-old slipped just one place to third, before passing Pedrosa back soon after to retake second. The Italian and the two Spaniards soon stretched out a gap from the chasing pack and Lorenzo started to look menacing on his team-mate's rear wheel, trying to pass a few times but failing as Rossi braked deeper and deeper.
It was not until lap twelve that the 23-year-old got by his team-mate and he quickly began to pull away, as the World Champion struggled to find enough grip on acceleration to stay with Lorenzo. The young Mallorcan eventually crossed the line 5.672 seconds ahead to take his first back-to-back wins in MotoGP and stand on top of the Le Mans podium for the second year running.
Lorenzo extends his championship lead to nine points from Rossi, whilst the Fiat Yamaha lead the Team standings and Yamaha the Constructors'. The next round comes at Rossi's home fortress of Mugello, in two week's time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1stTime: 44'29.114 "I am so happy to win for the second race in a row, it's the first time for me in MotoGP and it makes me feel very confident in myself. Finally I did a good start, which I'm really happy about, then I easily got past Pedrosa. Passing Valentino wasn't so easy because he was braking so deep and I had to be very patient, something that I might not have managed one year ago! Finally I overtook him but I didn't expect to be able to go away in that way, my bike and Bridgestone tires just felt so good and it wasn't difficult for me to keep this pace up. I have had a good time in Le Mans since I joined Yamaha; one second and two victories, so I think I can say I enjoy racing here in France! It is fantastic to be leading the championship but there is a long way to go and now we go to Mugello, a track that I love but where my rivals are very strong. Thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha for this great weekend."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2ndTime: +5.672 "I got a very good start but I knew from the beginning that we lacked some pace compared to Lorenzo and we had some unexpected problems in the race, mainly to do with grip on exit and acceleration from the corners. I expected to be faster but it wasn't the case today. I tried to stay in front of Lorenzo but it wasn't possible and I couldn't go with him once he was past, congratulations to him because he was very strong today! I can't blame my shoulder, I had expected it to be a bigger problem but in fact it was okay until six or seven laps from the end and by then the race was over for me. I knew it was important to finish and take the 20 points, it's a long championship and we are only nine points behind. Now I am looking forward to being back on top form for Mugello, my home race."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager "A fantastic race and result, Jorge did very well to wait like this behind Valentino and then once he passed to go away in such a way, it was brave and showed how strong he was. He was very fast all weekend but as usual our tactics were to be on the podium, so this is a great bonus. I thought, coming here, that the pressure from leading the championship might worry him but this wasn't the case at all, he just kept his head down and this win is a fantastic reward for such good work."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager "Valentino started very well once again in this race but then when Lorenzo arrived it was difficult to stay in front, his pace was faster today. Valentino's bike was sliding a little bit too much and he lost some contact when Lorenzo was leading, and by then it was sensible to go for second. There's only nine points between them and we are here and in touch in this exciting championship."
Difficult home race for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was unable to show its true potential in front of a large home crowd at the iconic Le Mans circuit in France today.
In gloriously sunny conditions that saw air temperatures hit 32 degrees, Colin Edwards was engaged in an exciting mid-pack fight that included team-mate Ben Spies, Loris Capirossi and rookies Marco Simoncelli and Hector Barbera.
Despite not feeling 100 per cent comfortable with the race set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine, Edwards rode with dogged determination to hold a place in the top ten until lap 23.
Edwards continued to give his maximum effort but was unable to prevent dropping to 12th by the end, the American continuing his 100 per cent points-scoring record in 2010.
Today's 28-lap race ended in disappointment for 25-year-old Spies. The reigning World Superbike was hampered by the damaged left foot he suffered in a big high-side crash during yesterday's final practice session.
Spies quickly made up two places in the early stages but as his confidence grew and he stared to mount a surge towards the group battling for the top six, he suffered an unlucky crash out of 11th place on lap seven at the third corner.
After a tough home race, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is now looking forward to better fortunes when the 2010 campaign resumes in Mugello on June 6.
Colin Edwards - Position: 12thTime: +37.123 "I know this bike inside out and I've had some of the best races of my career at Le Mans, but right now I just can't seem to fix some of the problems I'm having. I can only go fast if I'm able to ride comfortable and smooth and at the moment I can't do that because I don't have the confidence. I'm working really hard with my guys at Tech 3 but we don't seem to be able to get on top of the problem at the moment. I spent a lot of the race behind Simoncelli and he was able to brake deeper than me. As soon as I'd brake and lean the bike over, I started to have a problem and right now I'm struggling to find an answer. It is annoying because I came here expecting a much better result but we'll regroup and try and be much stronger at Mugello."
Ben Spies - DNF "It was a tough weekend and I made it tough for myself. Yesterday morning was my fault with the crash and missing a session didn't help. I need as much track time as I can get so to miss a whole hour isn't good. I got a good start and after the first two laps I got into a decent rhythm. Capirossi and Colin started to come back to me a little bit and I was feeling quite confident. But I looked up and saw Capirossi lose the front at the third corner and as soon as I tipped in I lost the front too and I was down. It was a weird crash but luckily I didn't pick up any further injury. Now I can take this week off and rest and go to Mugello to push at 100 per cent. It has been a rough last couple of races but I'm still confident I can be closer to the front when things are right and be doing a lot better."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager "It is a strong word but this has been a disaster for us because we were expecting a lot. After Friday when we saw Ben learn the track even quicker than he did in Jerez we were very positive about his prospects and we know that Le Mans is one of Colin's best tracks. It is obvious that Ben was struggling a little bit with his foot and unfortunately he crashed in the race and I am sorry for him because he was determined to try and get in the top ten. Colin got a decent and he just never looked like the rider at this track that we know he can be. We'll analyze a lot of data to understand why we struggled and be as determined as ever to be back where we belong in Mugello. I'd like to congratulate Yamaha because once again they did a fantastic job and now we must improve to show our true potential with what is obviously an incredibly competitive YZR-M1 machine."
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