Monster Energy Grand Prix of France 2014
Posted on May 12, 2014 by Nick Harris
ROUND FIVE 2014 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY 18 MAY
Bradley Smith, who partnered Crutchlow at Tech 3 last year, leads the British MotoGP challenge. The Andorra based, Oxfordshire rider is eighth in the championship only seven points behind Jorge Lorenzo in fifth place. Twenty – three year old Smith has happy memories of Le Mans where as a sixteen year old he secured his first podium finish in the 125cc race seven years ago.
Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow look for a repeat of their superb results last year when they compete in the Monster Energy Grand Prix of France at Le Mans on Sunday. Gloucestershire’s Redding won a wet Moto2™ race last year round the 2.600 miles Bugatti circuit while Crutchlow secured his best MotoGP™ result with second place. Both have moved on since their efforts last year.
Redding, after finishing second in the Moto2™ World Championship, moved up to MotoGP this season with the GO&FUN Gresini Honda team and has made a solid start in the Open Class with his best result a seventh at the opening round in Qatar. It’s been a tough start to his Ducati career for Isle of Man based Midlander Crutchlow. Last year he was second in the wet MotoGP race behind Dani Pedrosa and in front of Marc Marquez riding for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. His cause this year was not helped when he crashed in Austin and broke the little finger on his right hand forcing him to miss the Aregentine Grand Prix. In Jerez he was sidelined with brake problems and will be looking to score points for just the second time this season after finishing sixth in the opening Qatar round.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty still chases that first elusive world championship point of the season after yet another 16th place in Jerez on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine.
World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes will want to forget the previous Moto2 round in Jerez after crashing twice in the race. The 23 year old Lincolnshire rider has shown enormous potential in his maiden season including sixth place in that open Qatar round on the Speed-Up machine. Londoner Gino Rea had a difficult start to his campaign with arm pump problems but he’s due for some points on the AGT REA racing Suter hopefully starting on Sunday.
Both Danny Kent and John McPhee will want to push on from their solid but not spectacular starts to the highly competitive Moto3™ Championship. Wiltshire based Kent is tenth in the championship riding the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo machine. Nineteen year old Scotsman McPhee has shown he is capable of riding with the front runners on the much improved SaxoPrint-RTR Honda but needs to do it consistently to improve on his 15th place in the championship.
“We had an important test at Jerez the day after the grand prix and we collected a large amount of data with some changes working better than others, leaving us with a clear idea of where we can head towards next in terms of setup direction. I am happy and confident that we will have a very competitive bike for the Tech3 Team's home race in Le Mans where I am sure we can score a positive result."
Marquez to make his mark at Le Mans
Twenty one year old Marc Marquez aims to make his very special mark at the legendary motorsport venue of Le Mans when he chases his fifth consecutive grand prix win of the season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix of France on Sunday. The Repsol Honda World Champion has totally dominated the opening four rounds of the MotoGP World Championship and returns to the 2.600 miles Bugatti circuit at Le Mans where he finished third last year on his first MotoGP race in the wet.
Perhaps the only way to compete with the phenomenon at the moment is on a wet track and last year his team-mate Dani Pedrosa was a convincing winner in the rain. The Spaniard secretly will be hoping for similar conditions after finishing on the podium at every race this season but still trailing Marquez by 28 points in the championship. The rain would also help Pedrosa as he recovers from an arm pump operation following his third place at the last round in Jerez.
Nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi was an impressive second in Jerez riding the Movistar Yamaha and has won three premier class races at Le Mans although the last win was six years ago. Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is having a tough time with just one podium this season but he has also won three times in the last five years. Former 125 cc winner Andrea Dovizioso was fourth in the wet last year riding the factory Ducati and so he would not mind a repeat of the rain and the same goes for his team-mate Cal Crutchlow. He was second last year on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and desperately needs a change of fortune while continuing to recover from the broken finger he sustained in the Austin crash.
Other riders have also been in the wars with Stefan Bradl joining the arm pump operation club last week and the 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden missed the Jerez test when an old wrist injury flared up. One rider that will miss Le Mans is Italian Danilo Petrucci who broke his wrist when he fell from the Ioda machine in the morning warm-up.
Le Mans Laments
The Monster Energy Grand Prix of France is not staged on the same circuit as the legendary 24 hour car race. The MotoGP races are held on the 2.600 miles Bugatti circuit at Le Mans which incorporates the same start and finish complex as the 24 hour car track.
Le Mans staged the second shortest Premier class race in the 65 year history of Grand Prix racing. The 2003 MotoGP race was reduced to 13 laps because of rain. Sete Gibernau won the 33.761 miles race by just 0.165s from Valentino Rossi.
The French Grand Prix has been staged at eight different circuits. They are at Albi, Rouen, Reims, Clermont – Ferrand, Paul Ricard, Nogaro, Magny Cours and Le Mans.
Facts and Figures
Circuit Length: 2.600 miles
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 0.419 miles
Left Corners: Four
Right Corners: Nine
Pole Position Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1.32.647 (2008)
Lap Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1'33.617 (2011)
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
Friday 16th May
8.00am – Grand Prix of France – FP1 - LIVE
12.00pm - Grand Prix of France – FP2 LIVE
Saturday 17th May
8.00am - Grand Prix of France – Free Practice/ Qualifying LIVE
Sunday 18th May
9.30am - Grand Prix of France - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races LIVE
Monday 19th May
08.00pm – MotoGP Highlights Programme – ITV4
Tuesday 20th May
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: Episode 5 (BT Sport 1)