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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP set to come out fighting in France

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have recharged their batteries after the Spanish GP and the Official MotoGP Jerez Test and are ready to continue challenging during the Grand Prix de France staged at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit this Sunday.

Rossi is looking to make a strong return at the front of the pack at the upcoming race, following some positive findings in last week’s Jerez Test. He continues to hold the lead in the championship and aims for a competitive start to the fifth round of the championship, at a track where he has a good record.

The Doctor has already claimed three premier class victories at Le Mans (2002, 2005 and 2008), six second places (2003, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016) and three third places (2000, 2001 and 2011), but there is always room for an extra trophy in his cabinet.

Viñales also stepped onto the Bugatti Grand Prix podium last year, which was his first MotoGP podium, and is eager to revisit the rostrum this year. As he likes the French circuit, he is confident he can add another top score this weekend, to equal his 125cc win in France in 2011 and Moto3 win in 2013.

The Spaniard currently holds second place in the championship, just two points behind his teammate. Having topped the time sheets of the Jerez test a little more than a week ago, he looks forward to being more competitive aboard his YZR-M1 over the upcoming weekend.

The Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit was built in 1965 and started hosting Grand Prix from the late sixties until 1996, and from 2000 after a serious accident in 1995 saw the track update its safety. The 4.2km lay-out of five left and nine right corners with a 674m longest straight, places the emphasis on late braking, hard acceleration and rear end traction, which plays into the hand of Yamaha and promises for a great show on Sunday.

Valentino Rossi
Championship: 1st – Points: 62

After the difficulties during the Jerez weekend, the Le Mans GP will be very important. It is true that we are still first in the championship standings, and this is nice for us, but we need to improve the bike to be really competitive. The test in Jerez was important and we understood some positive things. Now we will have to work well from the first session in Le Mans and we have to try to be immediately competitive. We are feeling positive and we want to get back to working on the bike right away. I also hope that the weather conditions will be good, we need to test the bike in dry conditions.

Maverick Viñales
Championship: 2nd – Points: 60

The race in Jerez was very difficult for us. Now we have to understand about what happened and try to improve this weekend at the Le Mans circuit. Luckily during the test on Monday in Jerez we had a totally different result, it was a really good test. For that reason we’re arriving in France with a positive mind. Le Mans is a good track for us, it suits my riding style, and we can do a really good job there.

Massimo Meregalli

We’re back in Le Mans after fifteen days when we came here for a test, organised by Michelin, of the new tarmac. In the meantime we’ve been able to work on the bikes’ setting that’s most likely going to be our base set-up for Friday’s FP1. Le Mans has been a track that suits our bike well. We are fully committed to confirm this over the upcoming weekend and this will help us come back strong from the Jerez race. It will be important for us to be prepared for both dry and wet conditions, because Le Mans is known to be a place where the weather plays a big role in the race. We are really looking forward to starting the French GP weekend!

Zarco and Folger ready to shine at Tech3 Home Grand Prix in Le Mans

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo keenly await the Grand Prix de France where they fully intend to complete the team’s home event with two top tier results in front of the passionate French crowd. All eyes will be on home hero Johann Zarco who will aim to storm to glory and carry on his impressive run of results as he currently sits as the leading independent rider in the championship standings. Whilst Jonas Folger will seek to continue his notable momentum and score his fourth top ten finish in 2017. The event kicks off with Free Practice One at 09:55 this Friday.

Johann Zarco
Championship: 6th – Points: 35

The French Grand Prix is coming up and for sure, it will be a very interesting weekend. I am excited about racing in my home country because the beginning of this season has been superb so far in MotoGP with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. As a result, I think that the French fans are waiting for me and for this event. There is some pressure but I tried to manage it at home, in the week before the GP, where I rested and saved the positive energy. The first three venues that we have visited this year are much bigger than Le Mans, but the Bugatti circuit is small like the Jerez track. In addition, I have the advantage of knowing that because I had a good feeling in Spain, I can have a great feeling in France. I will fight for the best position and possibly even a top three because I am always getting closer and closer to the rostrum, which is the main target. I aim to have a strong race and then fight for the podium to make the Tech3 team, myself and all the French fans happy.”

Jonas Folger
Championship: 8th – Points: 29

I am really looking forward to the fifth round of the World Championship which will take place at the legendary Le Mans circuit. It’s the home Grand Prix for the team so of course, it’s a special race and there will be a lot of fans supporting us trackside in France. The circuit has recently been resurfaced so we will be able to experience the new asphalt, which I am excited about. I remember that it was a bit bumpy in the last few years and I had some trouble with this, plus I had a few crashes. However, it’s going to be great this year because I really like this circuit and combined with the fact that there will be new tarmac, it will be fun. I hope that we can continue working in the same way that we did in Jerez, and I will do my absolute best to get a strong result for the team in France.

Hervé Poncharal

Obviously the weekend will be very important for us as it’s the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. This year we have extra motivation as well as some additional pressure but it will be an even more special race because we have a French rider in our MotoGP team. He is the double Moto2 World Champion and the man who is leading the “Rookie of the year” fight, plus he is the top independent rider in the championship standings and his name is Johann Zarco! We have always had a lot of support in Le Mans, but this time we will have more, because of Johann. This is really exciting but it goes without saying that there’s pressure on everyone. We know that the French Grand Prix will not bring us more points than any another round, but for us, it’s the place where we want to do well and put on a good show for our home crowd. There are a lot of people who just come to this race and for sure most of them will be behind Johann and Tech3 so this is a round where we would really like to get a great result. We know that the Yamaha is always good at the Bugatti circuit and the track has been resurfaced so it will have more grip and no more big bumps. Clearly, the lap time will be quicker but we have to see how we get on. The weather is always difficult in Le Mans, and it looks like we could have rain showers on all three days, which is another tricky thing to handle. Yet, we fully trust Michelin to bring the best tyres and the right compounds to match the new track surface and the weather conditions which we may encounter. I have spoken about Johann who will be the home hero, but we also have Jonas Folger who is doing an exceptional job in his rookie season and we are happy with his work and determination. So the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team is delighted to go to Le Mans and for sure you can rely on us to give 120% in order to achieve the best result. We will see you all there and we hope there will be a big crowd who will all enjoy a great weekend of MotoGP racing.

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