Not only did Jorge Lorenzo qualify for pole position on the grid ahead of the fifth round of the MotoGP season at Le Mans in France, the 2015 MotoGP Champion from Spain smashed the lap record with his time of 1:31.975. Lorenzo managed to improve on the best lap time set by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) in 2014 by 0.167 seconds saying, “It was even faster than I expected”.
Lorenzo hoping to perform the most perfect lap
Lorenzo has “always liked Le Mans” and despite winning here several times he admitted that “one of his targets” that he has to achieve was to “start the race in pole position”. He feels that thanks to the “great work” of all of his team in “trying to improve the small details in every corner” that they have managed to create a bike that gives him the “possibility to keep a constant pace” and what he feels is close to creating the “most perfect lap”.
Marquez complimentary about Lorenzo
His time was 0.441 seconds faster than second place man Marquez who completed a flying lap in the final stages of qualifying. Marquez feels “Lorenzo has a big advantage” due to the fact his “pace is really good” which he feels leaves him “in front of everybody”. However, he knows that on track there will be “a big battle” with the likes of Ducati and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha).
Marquez feels Honda is unstable
Despite qualifying second on the grid, Marquez feels that he “struggles a lot” in achieving the best lap as “the bike is really unstable”. The Spaniard said, “If I try to push more it was more difficult.” He feels he had a better rhythm and said that factors on race day including the weather, temperature and the conditions of the tarmac will determine how they will “try to manage the race”.
Iannone qualified third despite crash
Andrea Iannone crashed in the final stages of qualifying; however his time of 1:32.469 set earlier in the session was enough to secure the final place on the front row of the grid. He reported having experienced problems similar to those that his teammate Andrea Dovizioso had in Jerez that forced him to retire from the race; water leaked from the Ducati and went onto the rear tyre.
Speaking about the race Iannone spoke of how being on the front row is “important” as he feels “this track is very narrow and very difficult to overtake the rider” and so the Italian knows being as close to the front as possible will give him a much better chance at finishing near the front.
Rossi admits struggling in Le Mans
Rossi appeared to be struggling during qualifying, he was always near the top through practice but when it came to crunch time he could only manage to qualify in seventh, which means he will start from the front of the third row. The nine-times world champion admitted that he and the team made “a lot of mistakes” whilst “trying different strategies”, he also feels being “stuck in traffic” prohibited him from progressing any further.
The Italian felt he missed his “one chance at the end” to improve. He felt he had the “potential” to be a “little bit faster” and that he could have possibly been within the top five. However, he felt he made a mistake when braking on turn six and had to run out wide. He felt that his qualifying result was “a shame” because he was able to “improve from yesterday” and he also feels that he is “competitive” when it comes to race pace but still remained disappointed saying “I have to start from the third row”.
Goubert happy with new Michelin tyres performance
Nicolas Goubert spoke on behalf of Michelin ahead of the French manufacturers home GP about the tyre options for the MotoGP riders. He spoke of how Michelin are “very happy because Jorge Lorenzo broke the record” in qualifying at Le Mans. He feels that they have made significant improvements since Jerez as Lorenzo and other riders “were not really happy with the amount of spinning we had during the race day”.
To reassure riders, the tyre manufacturer worked hard on making improvements and introduced a new tyre that “everybody chose” and Goubert said, “All of them qualified with that tyre and will race with that tyre tomorrow”. He spoke of how everyone is “happy” with the outcome so far.
Speaking about the race he confirmed that riders will be using the same ‘new’ tyre that they all used in qualification, “especially for the rear”, however he confirmed that, “For the front some of the riders will change a pick up a harder front”. He knows that the choices made tomorrow will “depend on the track temperature” as thunderstorms were expected for the early evening before the race.