With a win and a podium each so far this season, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will arrive at Le Mans this weekend with high hopes of continuing their victorious start to the season. The Fiat Yamaha pair lie first and second in the championship after two races, with Lorenzo four points ahead of Rossi following his magnificent home victory last time out.
The Spaniard turned 23 two days after Jerez and the memory of his first home MotoGP win was still fresh in his mind as he celebrated his birthday at home in Barcelona, following a successful one-day test.
He cannot help but feel confident for another good weekend in Le Mans, where last year he kept his head to win by 17 seconds as the weather wreaked havoc on all around him, and the season before he finished second despite riding with two broken ankles. The Mallorcan has one other win at Le Mans, in 2007 on the way to his second 250cc title.
The French Grand Prix in 2009 on the other hand is one that nine-time World Champion Rossi would rather forget, plagued as he was by a catalogue of mishaps and visits to pit lane before limping home in 16th position.
His previous record at the famous French track is exemplary however, with two wins for Yamaha in 2008 and 2005, as well as one other win and six podiums in all classes. Another two weeks off has given him time to fully recover from the shoulder injury that hampered him in Jerez and he will be back on top form and shooting for the top this time out.
Speaking to the media Rossi said, “My shoulder is more or less recovered now so I hope I will be back to full strength in Le Mans. Despite the disaster of last year’s race, Le Mans is a good track for me and the Yamaha always goes well there. The biggest problem is the weather, but after last year I think we deserve a sunny French GP! We’ve made a good start to the season, with the win in Qatar and then another podium, but we have also struggled with the bike in some areas and so we need to try to improve our performance. We had a good test after Jerez so I hope that we will be able to use that information to start strongly here.”
Le Mans: Record Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’34.215
Le Mans: Best Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’32.647
Grand Prix Results: Le Mans 2009
1. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 47’52.678
2. M. Melandri (Kawasaki) +17.710
3. D. Pedrosa (Honda) +19.893
Le Mans Grand Prix live telecast in India would begin at 2:15pm on Ten Sports and Star Sports, don’t miss it!