MOTOGP RIDERS READY FOR FRENCH GRAND PRIX AT LE MANS

The MotoGP™ riders kick off the French GP with the pre-event press conference.
The traditional press conference on Thursday officially marks the opening of the fifth round of the 2015 MotoGP ™ World Championship, which visits the circuit of Le Mans this weekend.

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The MotoGP™ riders kick off the French GP with the pre-event press conference.
The traditional press conference on Thursday officially marks the opening of the fifth round of the 2015 MotoGP ™ World Championship, which visits the circuit of Le Mans this weekend.

The top 4 riders in the championship Valentino Rossi (ITA), Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) & Marc Marquez (SPA) were joined by Pol Espargaro (SPA) and Moto2 rider Johann Zarco (FRA).

20150515-074536.jpgCurrent championship leader Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), who finished in 3rd place at the last race in Jerez & has 3 premier class wins at Le Mans to his name, said: “It’s been a great start to the season, especially for the 2 victories and because I was always on the podium, which is important for the championship.

“Jorge started with difficulty but his performance in Jerez was fantastic – fastest from Friday to Saturday. Jorge is always fast in Le Mans, historically it’s a good track for the Yamaha too. Last year Marc was faster, but we have to see if this year we are closer.

“It’s not my best track, there’s not a lot of grip and the weather is an issue: cold in the mornings and low temperature in the afternoon. This means you have to use soft tyres for grip.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) has a total of 7 career podium finishes here at Le Mans and 1 win in the 125cc class in his championship-winning season. He claims his recent testing session at Mugello was crucial for this GP: “The Mugello test was important, at Jerez we went the wrong way with testing & we weren’t so competitive. I’m happy now because we come here with a much better feel than in Jerez.”

Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, who was the undisputed ruler of the Jerez GP, hopes for similar success at the French track: “In Jerez everything was perfect from the beginning. Le Mans is a new story, anything can change. But at Jerez I was good on corner entry, if I can keep this feeling at Le Mans I can be competitive.

“Le Mans is a good track for Yamaha historically, last year Marc was strong, but we still finished on the podium. This year the Yamaha is better & I think we have a big chance.”

The reigning world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) may not be a huge fan of the Le Mans circuit, but his results speak for themselves: “6 years ago I got my first pole position here. My first Moto2 victory was here too. I don’t like it a lot but normally I get good results.

“Last year I arrived here in a very different position, but we have 14 races left so there is no panic.”

Speaking on his recent finger injury, Marquez added: “My finger is at 100%, it’s a bit bigger than usual [laughs], but I have the power in it back.”

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23-year-old Pol Espargaró (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) claimed the best result of his rookie season last year in Le Mans with fourth place: “In Jerez we recovered some confidence and I think we have a good feeling to come to the home GP for the team. We hope it will be close to last year. I like the track – I have good results here in 125 & Moto2 and last year in MotoGP I had surprising results. We will try to repeat it!”

French Moto2 ™ rider Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) joined the conference as a special guest to share his excitement over racing in his home Grand Prix, especially since it’s 11 years since a French rider arrived for the French GP leading the championship: “I don’t have too much pressure, 16 points advantage is good and I want to keep this mindframe and enjoy being on the bike.”

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