The combination of Maverick Viñales, his YZR-M1, and the French circuit proved to be a winning formula last year, when the youngster secured Yamaha it’s 500th Grand Prix win. He already realized a third place race result in 2016 and had his heart set on making it a podium hat-trick this weekend.
The Spaniard currently holds third place in the championship, 20 points behind the leader. After last week’s tests he approaches the competition in Le Mans with a positive mindset and he will be giving his all to bridge the margin to the top of the standings.
Valentino Rossi is eager to start the fifth round of the championship as he’s looking to set things right with the thousands of fans that visit the French MotoGP round each year. He was fighting for the win in last year’s race when he crashed out of second place. This year he is keen on a do-over, so he can step onto the French rostrum and celebrate with the crowds.
Traditionally, the Doctor scores competitive results at the Grand Prix de France. Throughout his premier class career he has collected three victories at Le Mans (2002, 2005 and 2008), six second places (2003, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016) and three third places (2000, 2001 and 2011). He currently sits in sixth place in the championship standings, 10 points behind his teammate.
The Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit was built in 1965 and is situated just a few kilometres from the city of Le Mans. MotoGP made its first visit to the iconic French track in the late sixties and it remained a fixture until 1996. After some safety moderations, the 4.2km-long circuit was added back on the calendar in 2000. Its lay-out of five left and nine right corners places the emphasis on late braking, hard acceleration, and rear-end traction, and promises to make for a great spectacle on Sunday.
Championship: 3rd – Points: 50
“The race in Jerez was very difficult for us again this year. Fortunately, the tests last week were good. We are very close to finding the perfect set-up for me, so I’m heading to Le Mans with a positive mindset. I have really good memories from my victory on the Yamaha last year, so hopefully we’ll be able to repeat the success we had there. Le Mans is a good track for us, it suits my riding style, and I think we can do a really good job. We’ll do our best to be at the top of the classification.”
Championship: 6th – Points: 40
“I’m happy we’re going to France next, because on paper we should be fast in Le Mans – usually the Yamaha works well there. I think that at the moment the situation is difficult to predict, because our rivals are strong, so we’ll see what our potential will be like. I expect to be a bit more competitive compared to the previous GP weekend, but I don’t know where we stand compared to the other bikes yet, so that will be interesting to find out. For sure my guys and I will do our best, as always, to make it a good race weekend.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“Vale, Maverick and the team have had little to no rest since the Grand Prix of Spain, as we have completed two tests last week. The Le Mans circuit suits our bike and both our riders – Maverick secured Yamaha’s 500th Grand Prix victory just last year and Valentino has stood on the French podium many times – making it a good track for us to gain positive momentum after Jerez. So far, the weather forecast looks perfect, so we are looking forward to a competitive race weekend and having both our riders fighting at the front again, like they did last year.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Awaits Home Grand Prix with Huge Excitement
Local hero Johann Zarco arrives at the French GP with high hopes and a second position in the World Championship standings in his pocket. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider concluded the fourth round of the 2018 season with a second podium and therefore, arrives at his home soil in Le Mans with 58 points and an enormous determination to chase what would be his first ever premier class win.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin aims to reconquer the top rookie spot in front of the amazing home crowd of his French crew. Following a very intense Spanish GP, where the MotoGP newcomer suffered from pain after a bicycle incident, Syahrin is back to full fitness and eager to challenge the points scoring positions again, starting from FP1 this Friday at 9:55 local time at the famous Bugatti Circuit.
Championship: 2nd – Points: 58
“I’m pretty happy to come to my home Grand Prix being second in the Championship. I got a nice, but also lucky podium in Jerez, but this gave me a very high motivation and a big smile to start the French GP. I hope that the weather will be good, but even if we have some rain, I know my Yamaha bike well now and I know, that I have to relax on it in any case. Last year was one of the best races of the season, because in Le Mans I got my first ever MotoGP podium. I would like to fight for the victory, therefore I have to stay cool, work well with the team and we will see what will happen. I think the fact that all our fans will be there will deliver some more positive energy, maybe also some pressure, but I will change this pressure to even more positive energy, so we cross our fingers and arrive in Le Mans with full power.”
Championship: 16th – Points: 9
“I’m looking forward to arrive in Le Mans and I want to do my best for my guys, because they are all French, so it’s our home race with many supporters. I aim to continue in the best way like during the first three rounds. Jerez was quite difficult after my bicycle crash at the beginning of the week. Now my pain is already gone, I’m back at 100 percent, so I want to give a challenge to all the other rookies and I want to try to get as many points as possible. I hope I can come back as strong as before and I can’t wait to start to this very important round for all of us.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“I think everybody will understand, that the French Grand Prix is a very special race for us like everybody’s home race. It’s always important for Tech3 and even more when you have a French rider and we had quite a few. This year this event is even more special and emotional, because our French rider is Johann Zarco, who was just second in Spain and is sitting in second in the MotoGP provisional ranking. Of course, everybody remembers last season, where he was on the front row and the three Yamaha riders were fighting in front. He led the race for quite a while, which made the crowd really mad. There was an intense battle between Rossi, Viñales and Zarco and he eventually finished second. That was an incredible feeling. Obviously, I know the fans are all waiting for something at least as good as 2017 and even better, but you don’t like to talk too much about this potential win. As usual we try to do everything we can to reach this and we can rely on Johann on track, but also to be present, to thank the fans for their support and answering questions. Every GP is a new story, an independent story, so we have to start from scratch. It’s quite sure, that Johann and everybody within his Monster Yamaha Tech3 crew is very efficient and performing well, but we can see this year that many riders and manufacturers are very strong. What I want to say is, we try our best to please everyone, but be indulgent. We do our best, but for sure, there will be a lot of pressure, yet we try to work without this effecting us. We go to Le Mans to enjoy a great show, the support of the crowd and to do our best, plus hopefully we can do as good as the previous races since the beginning of the season.”
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