MotoGP Le Mans Results & Full Race Report: Lorenzo Makes It Two in a Row as Stoner Crashes Again


What Happens When Teammates Fight

9:02am EST — Jorge Lorenzo dominated the 2010 French GP after passing teammate Valentino Rossi, who finished second, for the lead just over a third of the way through the race.  Behind the Fiat Yamaha riders, another intra-team fight brought Andrea Dovizioso the final podium postition and Nicky Hayden fourth, ahead of Dani Pedrosa in fifth.  Casey Stoner again crashed out early on, from fourth, and did not finish the race, though he was unhurt.

Saturday’s qualifying for the French GP was yet another last-minute stunner, with Rossi just posting the fastest time within the last minute of the forty0five minutes session.  His Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, slid into starting second, just ahead of Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, whose laptime knocked Casey Stoner off pole after he had led much of the session.  Nicky Hayden’s early season pace seemed to have continued, as he qualified fifth and only two tenths off his teammate’s time in fifth, a vast improvement on the temperamental Ducati.  Randy de Puniet qualified sixth at home, while the satellite Yamaha teammates Colin Edwards and Ben Spies were eighth and twelevth, respectively, with Spies still suffering from a crash and injury during the Saturday morning warm-up.  Also affected similarly was Mika Kallio, while fellow crasher Alvaro Bautista did not qualify and would not race.

The field got away under a bright, sunny and clear sky at Le Mans, and while the start was clean, the top five remained as they qualified. Rossi led into the first corner with quite a lead over Pedrosa, who got around Lorenzo.  Hayden had gotten around Stoner, as Lorenzo re-took second from Pedrosa.  Marco Melandri was the surprise starter, moving up from eleventh to finish the first lap sixth.  He was overtaken by Andrea Dovizioso.  Stoner made his way around Hayden for fourth at Musee on the second lap.  While the Fiat Yamaha teammates could not shake Pedrosa with their inter-team fighting, Dovi continued his move up the field, moving into fourth, around Stoner and Hayden on L3 as Stoner crashed out as he was the fastest man on the track.  It looked very much as though Stoner went a bit wide and while it looked as though the rear end went out on him, it was the front that slide out, the second time he crashed out in these first three races.  At the front, Lorenzo was still prodding at Rossi for the lead, but remained unable to properly get around his Italian teammate.

Further back, the injured Spies was lapping slower than Hector Barbera behind him, and on L6 he was out as well from eleventh.  Loris Capirossi was another attrition from eighth.  Lorenzo took the lead from Rossi on the inside, running his bike deep through the chicane, and while Lorenzo briefly had his wheel in front, Rossi came back under the Dunlop bridge to keep the lead.  Just behind, Pedrosa was laying in wait for the teammates to do some damage to each other’s race.

On L11, Lorenzo quite decisively took the lead from Rossi through the chicane, and Rossi could and did not get back around his teammate.  Rossi was just a bit too far behind to attack, especially as Lorenzo took the lead and ran with it.  They were still close, but not enough to trade positions, as Lorenzo had three tenths after a lap in the lead.  There was a two second gap with fourteen laps to go, and it grew as the laps ticked down.  Even as Lorenzo’s lead grew, so did the gap between Rossi and Pedrosa, who was being reeled in by his teammate, Dovizioso.

With ten laps to go, Lorenzo had nearly four seconds over Rossi, lapping comfortably and very quickly.  Skipping over the fighting Hondas and Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri was in sixth as he had been on the first lap, having changed back to Showa suspension and reaping the rewards.  Hayden, meanwhile, was dropping the gap with fast lap times between himself and the Hondas, whose fighting was hurting their times regarding those behind.  With four laps to go, Dovi was attacking Pedrosa, nearly getting him as Pedrosa went wide, but the Spaniard kept the final podium position.  At the front, Lorenzo’s lead was growing, but the fighting for the podium was the firece battle on the track.

Dovizioso was very close on the inside again, lining up a look at Garage Vert, but unable to get through.  Pedrosa’s tight lines kept Dovi behind, but only just.  Across the line with two to go, Dovi seemed glued to Pedrosa’s rear wheel.  At Musee, Pedrosa looked to go a bit wider than Dovi as his natural line, but he closed the door each time on the exit of the corner.  Dovi might have made an under-over pass, but he didn’t go for the over part.  Finally, Dovi got around Pedrosa, as Hayden came right up behind his former teammate on the final lap.  Pedrosa went very wide at one corner but kept Hayden behind, until Hayden attacked again, and again, forcing Pedrosa to make a mistake and go a bit wide, leaving fourth for Hayden.  Lorenzo maintained his lead over Rossi and won his second race in a row, having a bit of a popcorn and movie celebration on the cool-down lap.

Final Positions for the MotoGP French Grand Prix:
1. Lorenzo
2. Rossi +5.672
3. Dovizioso +7.872
4. Hayden +9.346
5. Pedrosa +12.613
6. Melandri +21.918
7. de Puniet +29.288
8. Barbera +33.128
9. Espargaro +33.393
10. Simoncelli +33.805
11. Aoyama +34.346
12. Edwards +37.123
13. Kallio +55.061
Capriossi RET (crash)
Spies RET (crash)
Stoner RET (crash)

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