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May 21

2>4: MotoGP Le Mans Race Recap

Dani Pedrosa Le Mans

© Repsol Honda Team

Wet weather always makes for an interesting race and round 4 of the 2013 MotoGP season was no exception.  Hit the jump for more about the race at the famed alternate Le Mans course.


Lorenzo and Rossi MotoGP Round 4 Le Mans 5/18/13

Le Mans and motorsport go hand in hand, however most people only think of Le Mans in connection with the legendary endurance race held there every June.  The somewhat lesser known, though still with nearly 50 years of history, the Bugatti Circuit makes up part of the 24hr circuit and it plays host to MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi MotoGP Round 4 Le Mans 5/18/13

The weather played a major part over the weekend, which is pretty typical for Le Mans during this time of year. Qualifying went well and the usual suspects were sitting at the front of the grid.  The one surprise was the appearance of Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati in third.  One can only hope that this is a sign that the Ducati is finally coming around.

Sunday’s race proved to be wet and as a result the race turned into a test of who could maximize their tires without using them up completely.

Dani Pedrosa Le Mans

© Repsol Honda Team

Dani Pedrosa proved to be the master of the wet Bugatti Circuit.  Riding away from the field after a multi lap battle with Dovizioso’s Ducati, which spent a surprisingly large number of laps at the front before finishing fourth.  Pedrosa showed that he is a real title contender.

 

Lorenzo, Pedrosa’s main title contender and the reigning world champion, struggled in the wet conditions and simply fell back in the pack finishing 7th.  Le Mans marked the first time the Spaniard hasn’t finished on the podium in nearly 20 races.

Finishing second, Cal Crutchlow kept it from being another Spanish dominated podium.  Riding with a cracked tibia and blood on one of his lungs, received in a big crash during an earlier practice session, Crutchlow showed that he really deserves a shot with a factory team.  Crutchlow is a rider that really hearkens back to the glory days of Gardner and Doohan, he simply will not quit!  There are rumors that Crutchlow will be going to a factory team next year, most likely Yamaha or perhaps Suzuki, let’s hope that happens.

What about Marquez and Rossi? Well, Marquez continues to impress by essentially learning to ride a MotoGP bike in the wet and over 28 laps he fell back to ninth then clawed his way up to third.  At the end of the race Marquez was lapping a full second faster than everyone else.  The mind boggles at how quick he is going to be with even more seat time on a MotoGP bike.

Rossi continues to be a draw and fans pack the seats to watch him.  His Yamaha looked like it didn’t have the pace of the Honda’s but his setup looked better than Lorenzo’s and he was holding station in 5th before low siding the bike.  The crash obviously means that he should hang it up and he simply can’t compete with the current crop of riders, or so the numerous comments on blogs and fan forums would have you believe. I think Rossi has definitely lost a little bit of his edge, or the current crop of riders is so good it seems that way, but he still seems to have the passion for it and his results have been quite a bit better than say Micheal Schumacher’s last couple of years in F1.  Claiming Rossi is done is probably a bit premature.

Rossi and Hayden MotoGP Round 4 Le Mans 5/18/13

For all the official results check out  the fancy Official MotoGP site.  We’ll see you again in June as the MotoGP teams head to the Gran Premio d’Italia  TIM at the famed Mugello Circtuit.