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france 2012 Grand Prix of France - Le Mans - Preview - 15/05/2012

Date : 15/05/2012

Repsol Honda riders head to France looking for another double podium

This weekend the 2012 MotoGP World Championship heads to Le Mans. The Grand Prix of France, fourth round of the calendar, welcomes the Repsol Honda Team with Casey Stoner leading the Championship with 66 points and Dani Pedrosa in third place with 52.

Both Honda factory riders have visited the podium at every race so far this season and Casey and Dani head to Le Mans aiming to continue this pattern at a track that affected both riders' seasons in different ways last year.

Casey, who clinched the win in Estoril last week and his 18th successive podium, won in Le Mans in 2011, building up towards his second MotoGP World title with three wins in a row (Le Mans, Catalunya and Silverstone).

Dani celebrated his 100th career podium in Portugal and will return to Le Mans with one thing on his mind: to put behind him the bad memories from his crash in 2011, after setting the circuit record and fastest lap of the race (1'33.627). As a result of this accident, Dani broke his collarbone and was absent from the races in Catalunya, Silverstone and Assen in 2011.

The French circuit, located 200 kilometres south-west of Paris, is a tight track, quite similar to Estoril, dominated by first gear corners, late braking and hard acceleration.

CASEY STONER
 
CASEY STONER –World Championship Position: 1st with 66 points
 
"The past two tracks have not historically been my best but I've managed wins at both of them so I'm hoping we can go to Le Mans and be competitive again. I've had some mixed results there in the past, the track layout is unique, it's a little stop-start with a lot of braking and I think this year both the Honda's and Yamaha's will be competitive there. It was disappointing that the weather in Estoril on Monday prevented us from testing, we need to work on the chatter issue we have on the bike so let's hope we have some dry sessions from day one in Le Mans so we can get out on track and work on it".

DANI PEDROSA
 
World Championship Position: 3rd with 52 points
 
"Le Mans is a hard circuit, quite similar to Estoril, a stop and go track where you need to prepare a bike with good stability, traction and acceleration. In the past I felt comfortable riding there, I had good results in 125cc and 250cc, but not really perfect in MotoGP, so I have something small inside me I want to achieve. Last year I did the fastest race lap, but I couldn't keep the pace before the crash, so I want to do better this time. We've had three good races so far, I'm riding well, but I missed something in all of them, especially on the first laps, where I've been stronger in the past. I need to put everything together and if we get better starts, we will start wining races".
Testing Results
1 Casey Stoner 66 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 65 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Dani Pedrosa 52 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Cal Crutchlow 37 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Andrea Dovizioso 35 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Alvaro Bautista 29 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
7 Stefan Bradl 24 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
8 Nicky Hayden 23 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Hector Barbera 22 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
10 Valentino Rossi 19 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Ben Spies 18 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
12 Aleix Espargaro 9 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 6 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Danillo Petrucci 4 pts ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
15 Colin Edwards 4 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Mattia Pasini 2 pts ITA ART Speed Master
17 Michelle Pirro 2 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
18 Yonny Hernandez 2 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
19 Ivan Silva 1pts SPA BQR-FTR BQR
20 James Ellison 0 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
21 Karel Abraham 0 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing


Circuit information
First race 1969 (Modified 2006)
GPs held 23
Laps 28
Race distance 117.18km / 72.8miles
Track length 4.185km / 2.600miles
Track width 13m
Longest straight 0.45km / 0.28miles
Corners 13 (4 left, 9 right)
Pole position Left

Sepang International Circuit

Circuit records
Pole position 1m32.647s (162.617 Km/h) Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2008)
Race lap 1m33.617s (160.932 Km/h) Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2011)
Race time 44m03.955s (159.551Km/h) Casey Stoner (Honda, 2011)
MotoGP Wins 3 (Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo)
2011 Winner Casey Stoner (Honda)
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