Jorge Lorenzo Extends Championship Lead in the 2011 Le Mans MotoGP

MotoGP of France at Le Mans was today witness to yet another incident packed race played out in front of the packed grandstands. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo suffered a low side in the morning warm up, sustaining a minor injury to his finger but was otherwise unhurt.

motogp, motorcycle gp, motogp 2011, yamaha motogp, yamaha, jorge lorenzo, jorge lorenzo motogpLorenzo held his grid position off the line as the race got underway, battling up to fourth with 14 laps to go and taking Dovizioso on the second corner for the position.

Having managed to close the gap to the second and third riders, a mistake caused him to run wide and lose ground, eventually crossing the line still in fourth.

With previous closest championship rival Dani Pedrosa crashing out of the race, the results mean Lorenzo has now extended his lead in the Championship to 78, 12 points clear of second place.

Ben Spies leaves France happy to have put the misfortunes of the previous two rounds behind him.

The Texan also kept grid position off the line but made two small mistakes in the first laps, losing time to those in front.

Consistent race pace saw him close down on Colin Edwards in fifth until an unfortunate crash by the fellow Texan caused Spies to run wide to avoid collision. He recovered and managed to fight off Nicky Hayden to eventually take sixth. The result doubles his point score to 20, placing him in 12th position, only 2 points from Marco Simoncelli in eighth.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position 4th – Time +21.075
“I think the race has been good in general for us and the results and points are good for the Championship. Obviously I would like to fight with Casey and the other best riders for victory but at this moment it’s really hard. What I can do is try to finish with the best result possible, take the maximum from our bike as it is now and wait for future improvements.”

Ben Spies
Position 6th – Time +31.609
“It was a pretty exciting race. I made two mistakes on the first two laps and lost touch with Colin and Valentino. I tried to ride as hard as I could and was reeling in Colin until unfortunately he crashed; his bike slid across the track so I had to avoid it which allowed Nicky to get up to the back of me. We diced around a bit then I was able to get around him and go on my way. We got a sixth place result which is good for the points.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It’s been a very tough race here in France but the final result is not so bad. I’m not talking about the fourth position but the fact we are now leading the Championship by 12 points. I think it’s very important to look ahead, we’ve got a lot to discuss after this weekend and will be looking for big improvements moving forward.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“A really strange weekend for the Team here at Le Mans; the race had a lot of incidents. For us it was a really important result, we got a lot of points and Jorge is still leading the Championship. Ben got a positive result and took some valuable points as well. Now we have to work to be ready for the Catalunya Grand Prix in three weeks time.”

Edwards and Crutchlow battle for top six in Le Mans

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team ended its home race at the historic Le Mans circuit pondering what might have been after Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both crashed out of contention for a top six finish in a pulsating French MotoGP race today.

Edwards battled to a determined 13th place finish after he’d tumbled out of seventh position at the first chicane on lap 14. The Texan had produced a stunning early charge to keep himself in contention with a group featuring Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, but lost the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 at the first left-hander.

Edwards lost his left footpeg in the slow speed fall but remounted and returned to the pits. Thanks to the quick work of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, he was quickly back on track and able to score three World Championship points that keep him inside the top ten of the overall rankings after four rounds.

Crutchlow’s bid to claim a career best premier class finish was ended on the sixth of 28-laps while he was lying in ninth position and building up his speed to launch an attack on 2009 World Superbike champion and former Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Ben Spies.

Crutchlow was only 0.2s behind Spies when he lost the front-end at Turn 6. Determined to get back in the race, Crutchlow’s hopes of fighting his way back into the points were ended by a minor throttle issue that prevented him from continuing.

Colin Edwards
Position 13th – 21 points

“I got one of the best starts I’ve had in a long time and I just flew off the line but it was the usual jostle for position at the first corner. I got a bit of clear track in front of me and I could see Valentino was coming back to me a little bit and Dovizioso and Lorenzo were also just in front of him. I rode at my absolute maximum to try and stay with them because I really wanted to get a top six for Tech 3 and for Monster. I was losing four of five bike lengths though coming onto the back straight and then I’d also lose a bit more time at the next chicane because I wasn’t that fast through there. I could see the gap was staying at 1.5s and there was nothing I could do. I wasn’t making mistakes but neither were they, so I could see them but just not get close enough. When I crashed it didn’t feel like I was doing anything too stupid. I was on the same line and I didn’t get in there too hot. Normally you get a bit of warning when the front is going to tuck, but I had nothing. I was already looking through at the next corner and then I was down. I broke the footpeg off but came back to the pits and went out again and salvaged a couple of points, which might prove valuable at the end of the year.”

Cal Crutchlow
DNF – 21 poitns

“I’m pretty disappointed because looking at how the race panned out I could have been in sixth place because when I crashed I was having a good battle with Ben. I’d caught him quite easily and was looking forward to a good race when I made a stupid little mistake in Turn 6. I touched the kerb and I lost the front. I literally fell off the side of the bike and that was it. It is disappointing because I had the pace to get another top eight, but these things can happen when you’re pushing so hard in a competitive class like MotoGP. I managed to get back on the bike but there was a problem with the throttle, so it was impossible for me to carry on. I showed my raw speed all weekend so I’m not going to be too hard on myself, though I was desperate to get a good result for Tech 3 and Monster.”

Herve Poncharal
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager

“The whole weekend has been really good and as usual and it was just a shame that we couldn’t get the results that Colin and Cal’s speed deserved. But both of them are always giving their absolute maximum and that is all I can ask. In the race Cal didn’t get such a good start, but he recovered and was right behind Ben. From that moment we thought he could have had a strong race but unfortunately a little mistake cost him a lot. When you see Ben finishing sixth, then you can’t help wonder whether Cal could have scored his best result in MotoGP. Colin was very fast and very aggressive. He was looking strong for a top six finish, but then also he crashed. It is strange because our two guys don’t usually crash and yet both of them have crashed on the same day in our home race. That’s a pity but we will stay positive. They were both fast during the race and we move to Barcelona in confident mood. We wanted to do better for the French fans who came to support Tech 3 and for our sponsors Monster, who have done another amazing job in supporting the Le Mans event.”

2011 MotoGP France
Le Mans 15/05/2011 28 Laps
race I

1 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 44’03.955
2 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0’14.214
3 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 0’14.564
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 0’21.075
5 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0’31.245
6 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’31.609
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’35.566
8 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 0’51.502
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’03.731
10 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’03.885
11 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1’04.068
12 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’04.192
13 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA -2Laps

MotoGP World Standing
Rider Standings After Race 4 of 18

1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 78
2. Casey Stoner Honda AUS 66
3. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 61
4. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 50
5. Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 47
6. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 39
7. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 36
8. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 22
9. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 21
10. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 21
11. Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 21
12. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 20
13. Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 18
14. Toni Elias Honda ESP 17
15. Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 9
16. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 7
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