After completing a private test at Mugello on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Ducati Team are now in France for the fifth round of the championship and the second race on European soil in 2015, which takes place this weekend at the Le Mans circuit, around 200 km from Paris.
The track where the bike races are held – the Bugatti – is an integral part of motorsport history and, even though it only shares a small section of the Sarthe circuit where the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours car race takes place every year, it offers a fascinating spectacle to the massive French crowd that flock to the circuit for the French GP.
The two days of intense testing at Mugello for the Ducati Team riders were aimed at preparing for the Italian GP, to be held at the same circuit at the end of May. For Andrea Dovizioso the test was positive, and the man from Forlì was able to lap at a good pace. However, some anxieties surrounded the team’s other rider Andrea Iannone, who crashed at the end of the second day and picked up a dislocated left shoulder injury, after setting some good times in Tuscany. The rider from Vasto immediately underwent a check-up with a specialist and began an intense physiotherapy schedule that will allow him to take to the track this weekend.
The Le Mans round will begin on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9.55 am, while the 28-lap race gets underway on Sunday at 2 pm.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (67 points) “The last race at Jerez didn’t go the way we had hoped for but we managed to score some points in in any case and hold on to second place in the championship. The test at Mugello was very important for us because it also pointed us in the right direction for the French GP: it helped us to understand the GP15’s behaviour much better and we lapped very strongly, and so I am very confident for this weekend’s race at Le Mans.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 5th (50 points), “Unfortunately I injured my left shoulder during the second day of testing at Mugello. I was trying the harder front tyre when I crashed at the Arrabbiata 2 curve. After paying a visit to Prof. Porcellini in Cattolica, we immediately began treatment in order to recover as quickly as possible. My shoulder still hurts a bit, but in any case my mobility is good and this is important because it’s a comfort to know that you are not limited in your movements. I will try and ride as best as I can, but I don’t know how much pain I will have, and we will only get an idea tomorrow morning when I step onto my GP15 for the first time.”
The Le Mans circuit
The ‘Bugatti’ circuit lies about 5 km south of the town of Le Mans. Built in 1965 around the Le Mans 24 Hours car racing circuit, at the end of the 1960s the track became the venue for the grand prix bike race. After a few years the Le Mans round disappeared from the championship calendar until the 2000 season, while work was carried out to improve safety. One of the main features of the narrow track is the strange nature of its curves, which force the riders to brake brusquely and then accelerate hard out. The circuit can accommodate more than 100,000 spectators and has five left-hand corners and nine right.
Circuit Record: Marquez (Honda - 2014), 1’33.548 (159.5 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Marquez (Honda – 2014), 1’32.042 (163.6 km/h)
Top Speed: Pedrosa (Honda – 2014), 313.8 km/h
Circuit Length: 4.2 km
Race Distance: 28 laps (117.2 km)
Race Start: 14.00 CET
Podium: 1st Marquez (Honda), 2nd Rossi (Yamaha), 3rd Bautista (Honda)
Pole Position: Marquez (Honda) 1’32.042 (163.6 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Marquez (Honda), 1’33.548 (159.5 km/h)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP15
Race Number: 04
Age: 29 (born on March 23rd 1986 in Forlimpopoli, Italy)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 226 (128 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2001 Italian GP (125cc)
Wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2004 South African GP (125cc)
Pole Positions: 16 (3 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2003 French GP (125cc)
Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP15
Race Number: 29
Age: 25 (born on August 9th 1989 in Vasto, Italy)
Residence: Vasto (Italy)
Races: 166 (37 x MotoGP, 51 x Moto2, 76 x 125cc)
First GP: 2005 Spanish GP (125cc)
Wins: 12 (8 x Moto2, 4 x 125cc)
First Win: 2008 GP of China (125cc)
Pole Positions: 8 (5 x Moto2, 3 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2008 GP of Malaysia (125cc)