Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Lorenzo Wins Le Mans

Moto GP 2015

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www.motorcyle-usa.com

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took his second consecutive MotoGP race win of the season at Le Mans, leading the way from the opening lap to the checkers. Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, protected his overall points lead with a second-place finish followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in third. 

To begin with, the weather was uncharacteristically fantastic at the French circuit allowing for the race to be run full-out for 28 laps. Off the start, Dovi and Lorenzo fought for the lead but then a bold move by Marc Marquez in the esses saw the Repsol Honda rider take the front for a fleeting moment as he passed both riders in one move. The pass proved a bit too aggressive, sending Marquez wide in the middle of the section, allowing Dovi, Lorenzo and then Dovi’s teammate, Andrea Iannone, to slip by into the one through three spots. Lorenzo prevailed at the front after the shuffle and would hold there for the remainder of the race. 

Despite the ideal conditions, riders still dropped left and right during the initial stages. Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, was one of the first to go down, sliding off track in Turn 4 of Lap 2. He was able to remount and forged on to finish the race, testing his physical abilities in race conditions in his first contest back after surgery. Forward Racing’s Stefan Bradl lost his machine soon after in another section of the track, ending his race early. Later, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro would pull in with a technical issue, Marc VDS’ Scott Redding would crash out as would CWM LCR’s Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller. 

Just a few laps in, Lorenzo was building a slight gap on Dovi in second. Iannone, still struggling with pain from a dislocated shoulder suffered during testing, held to third for a period with Marquez following in fourth and Rossi in fifth. 

With three laps gone, Rossi started making moves up the ranks, dispatching Marquez in Turn 9 and then hunting down Iannone for third. It would take Rossi a number of laps to find an opening on the Ducati rider, but 10 laps into the contest the Doctor got the opportunity and pushed ahead of Iannone for podium position. Marquez, meanwhile, was out of form, running wide in one section and allowing both Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith and Crutchlow to move past. Marquez was quick to retaliate on Crutchlow, but struggled to the final stages to get in front of Smith. The warmer than usual weather, which brought out more than 93,000 fans to the French circuit, played a role in Marquez's estimation.

"Today the temperature rose sharply; we had not ridden in such conditions at any time this the weekend," explained Marquez. "On the fourth lap I started to notice that I had a lot of problems with the front end. I think all the Hondas had the same trouble; in fact a lot crashed after losing front grip because we were really suffering. We knew that with a rise in temperature, conditions change, but we expected it to be for the better and this time it was for the worse. We must learn from this race and especially from the data we have gathered."

Lorenzo continued to grow his advantage at the front as Dovi worked to defend against the coming attack from Rossi. With 16 laps remaining, Rossi was hounding Dovi’s rear tire and just before the end of the rotation Rossi was able to move up into second-place. Lorenzo was 1.8 seconds ahead of his teammate at this point. 



Further back, Crutchlow had washed the front end in Turn 6, leaving Marquez and Smith alone in the battle for fifth. Iannone was fourth and eventually Smith and Marquez were able to close in, the Ducati rider losing some pace during the later laps. Once on his tail though, Iannone came back to life and started to put up a defense. Marquez came to life as well, finding an opening on both riders to move from sixth to fourth in one pass. Iannone wanted none of it though, quickly retaliating on the defending champion. The two riders would go back and forth a number of times before Marquez sealed his position in fourth in the final laps. 

Despite his efforts, Rossi proved unable to close the gap on Lorenzo, losing time on his teammate during the final stages. At the finish, the Mallorcan was 3.8 seconds clear of Rossi for the win. Dovi was an additional nine second back in third.

"Before the race I was a little bit worried about the front tire on the right side, because it was close in some corners," said Lorenzo. "Sometimes that‘s worse in the race on Sunday, because it‘s hotter at two o‘clock and you have more fuel in the tank and push more on braking. On the third or fourth lap it started closing, and I started worrying that I had an ever worsening tire in the next laps, but luckily for us the tire stayed more or less the same. It was close in the whole race, but not becoming worse. I was pushing the whole time and when the fuel tank ran low I pushed a little bit less. So this time we have been lucky."

Marquez claimed fourth with Iannone following in fifth and Smith in sixth. Smith’s teammate, Pol Espargaro, finished seventh trailed by Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez in eighth and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales in ninth. 

Rossi holds on to the points lead while Lorenzo jumps up one position to sit second overall. Dovi falls to third followed by Marquez in fourth and Iannone in fifth. 

MotoGP Le Mans Results 2015 
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 
4. Marc Marquez (Honda) 
5. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 
7. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 
8. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 
9. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 
10. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 
11. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 
12. Loris Baz (Forward Yamaha) 
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 
14. Eugene Laverty (Honda) 
15. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) 
16. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 
17. Alex De Angelis (ART) 
18. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 

MotoGP Championship Points 2015 
1. Valentino Rossi, 102 
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 87 
3. Andrea Dovizioso, 83 
4. Marc Marquez, 69 
5. Andrea Iannone, 61 
6. Cal Crutchlow, 47 
7. Bradley Smith, 46 
8. Pol Espargaro, 35 
9. Aleix Espargaro, 31 
10. Maverick Vinales, 

 
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