MotoGP 2012: Rider quotes from Le Mans

The word from the MotoGP riders after the French GP at Le Mans

Jorge Lorenzo - 1st

“It was really difficult to hold concentration today, in the dry it’s complicated but in the wet it’s even more. The race feels much longer and you have to remember where the corners are slippery every lap. If you forget one you can crash very easily. I started the race determined to be in first position from the beginning and managed to keep my concentration even when Casey was catching me. It would have been easy to push a bit more and make a mistake at that moment but I waited for a few more laps to see what happened then opened the gap again to win this fantastic race. A big thank you to my team who worked very hard in difficult conditions to make a set up that worked for me.”

Valentino Rossi - 2nd

“I’m really, really happy. We knew we had a special opportunity in the wet today, so I tried to ride perfectly and not throw it away. I started well and immediately made up some positions, and then I passed the two Yamahas to get behind Stoner. I was able to match his pace, but then my visor started to fog and I had to slow down for a couple of laps until I was able to clear it by lifting it a little. Once I could see again, I re-passed Cal and then Dovi. When I realized that I could really push hard and that it was possible to catch Stoner again, I went for it. It was a great race and a nice, fun battle with Stoner to the last lap. I enjoyed myself and I’m happy for my team and all the guys at Ducati, who are working so hard for me. Now we must continue giving our all until we’re also able to be competitive in the dry. We found a good base to work from in Portugal, and it wasn’t bad in the dry here, either, although not as good as in the wet. Now our main goal is to take another step forward and make up some more tenths.”

Casey Stoner - 3rd

"I was pretty happy to hold on for a podium today. In the early stages Cal, Valentino and Dovi were behind me putting on a lot of pressure, but we managed to pull a small gap on them as I was chasing Jorge. Then as soon as the rain stopped and the track was less wet, our tyre temperatures got too high, we started spinning and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I thought the three of them would catch up and perhaps overtake me but we managed to hold on for third. I enjoyed the battle with Valentino at the end, there was clean overtaking and we swapped positions a few times but in the end we knew that Valentino had better pace than us and after he passed there was no way I could stay with him. We did everything we could today and to come away with a podium is a good result."

Dani Pedrosa - 4th

"I had no traction out of the corners, especially in first and second gear, and I wasn't able to advance. We made a few changes to the configuration of the bike after warm up hoping to improve it a bit, in the end it was other way around, but these things can happen. In the race I immediately realised it was not my day, not a day to take any risk and it was important to simply reach the best position. I was lucky, after the crashes of both Tech 3 Yamaha's I finished fourth. Wet races can be like this and today was just not our day. We lost many points to Lorenzo but the Championship is very long and we will have our time. This race is over and we must now think towards Catalunya. I'm really looking forward to going there, it's a circuit t hat motivates me a lot and I have all my family and friends with me. The team is working very well, we have a good bike and we've been fast in every race, but we need to be determined. Let's see if we can speed up a little and take our first win of the season in Catalunya."

Stefan Bradl - 5th

“This is a fantastic feeling! I am very happy and the whole Team is happy too: this makes me very proud. Honestly I think nobody was expecting such a good result in my fourth race in this class. In general the weekend was tough because we were struggling a lot in finding the right set up for the dry sessions and I also had a big crash in yesterday’s qualifying. Finally it rained before the race and I knew we had a good package on the wet. Already on my sighting lap I could feel that was my WOW bike and my first lap was amazing as after the first split I was holding the 7th position. After that I rode behind Pedrosa for a long time who has got a very precise riding style. I learnt very much from him. When it started to dry up I could ride with more confidence adapting to the situation even if Hayden was trying to catch me.”

Nicky Hayden - 6th

“There must have been something on the inside of the track just after the start, because everybody that went on that side either crashed or almost did. My jump was really good, and then just as I was ready to go to second gear, the tyre completely broke loose and the bike started fishtailing. I got buried in the pack and couldn’t see for the first few laps. Once I got through some guys and had a clear track, my rhythm wasn’t too bad. I was bringing Bradl and Pedrosa back a bit, but when I got it down to two seconds, I almost crashed and had to try again. I got to Bradl’s wheel at the end but just couldn’t do anything. It’s frustrating because we’ve got a really good wet bike. I know we had more potential than sixth, but the start hurt me. Congratulations to the team for the podium. They certainly deserve it.”

Andrea Dovizioso - 7th

“Although the conditions were far from ideal, it was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it and I hope all the Tech 3 fans in the crowd did too. It was easy to make a mistake on such a wet track but I am really satisfied that I could make such a high pace. The battle with Cal and Valentino was hard but a lot of fun and it is a shame that I crashed while I still had a very good chance of my first podium for Tech 3 and Yamaha. I really wanted to achieve it here in the Team's home race, and also an important race f or our sponsor Monster. The last 12 laps my front tyre kept closing but Valentino couldn't escape from me and I could see we were catching Casey. I knew that I was pushing right on the limit with the tyres but I wanted to try and go with Valentino. It is a pity to crash but I'm really happy with my feeling with the Yamaha now. I was fast all weekend in the wet and dry and my Team did a great job, so we can look forward to the next races with a lot of confidence.”

Cal Crutchlow - 8th

“I'm not happy to have crashed while I was fighting for the podium, but the consolation is that at least I was battling for the top three again. Being quickest in the warm-up this morning meant I was confident going into the race but I wasn't really aggressive at the start. It was a great battle with Andrea and Valentino though but I see med to miss out on a bit of speed on the straight compared to them. That meant I had to make up all my time in the corners. It was a shame I crashed because I was fighting with Valentino and he finished second. There was a chance of the podium today but at least I was there and I lost so much time after the crash that to still finish eighth is a bonus really. Now we go to Barcelona knowing it will be tough but I will looking to be battling for the podium again.”

Hector Barbera - 9th

“It was a very difficult race and I couldn’t ride as I like because of a setup that was too stiff. We made this change during the warm up and it worked very well, but the conditions of the track during the race, were fully changed and the surface of the circuit was more wet than in the warm up. Toward the end I was able to outperform Karel and achieve the 9th place, but, honestly, I’m not very happy with today’s result.”

Alvaro Bautista - 10th

“I didn’t feel in tune with the bike and I couldn’t keep up with the group of riders ahead of me. The only option was to try and finish the race as best I could, and that is what I managed to do. I’m rather disappointed with how things went today.”

James Ellison - 11th

"The team boss Paul Bird was here this weekend and thankfully we put on a good show for him. We think we have found a setting that works in the wet or dry. It was a tough race and I'm just glad to get one for the team and I'd just like to say thanks to all my sponsors who have supported me and to the team who have done a fantastic job. I'm really looking forward to the next round and hope we can build on this result."

Mattia Pasini - 12th

“The conditions were very complicated and this was a difficult race, the track was very slippery. We started from the rear of the grid, in the initial phases it was hard to see because of water. We fought with a couple of MotoGP machines and it wasn’t wasy: even if I was fast in the turns, the MotoGP machines were tough to overtake. Little by little I managed to comeback and to reach Petrucci. In the last part of the race the rear tyre was worn out and I had less traction, I tried to lower the control but that didn’t help. We’re the second CRT on the finishing line and that isn’t bad, we are improving and I’m happy. Generally speaking, considering the conditions, I can say we did a good race.”

Aleix Espargaró - 13th

“This weekend was a disaster -it couldn’t have gone worse. In the morning warmup I felt more or less ok, but then when the race came around I was not comfortable at all. I didn’t have any weight on the rear and was sliding around on the gas. We rode really slowly and were far off everyone, but at least this weekend is over and I can look ahead to Montmeló. ”

Michele Pirro - 14th

“Unfortunately, this is the first time that I have been lapped in my life, and that left me feeling very bitter. The electronics didn’t help me at all, and without electronics things become very difficult in the wet. I just tried to take home the best result that I could, and I remain very disappointed."

Ben Spies - 16th

“That was a rough race. We actually got off to a good start at the beginning then had a very big moment on the line, something happened because then I had quite a lot of water coming in through my helmet and couldn’t see much on the first five laps. I hoped it would get better but I couldn’t see anything and decided to come in because I need to see where I am going. I knew the race was gone by then so went back out to try and get some data and get better working with the bike in the rain. Circumstances meant it wasn’t a good day.”