Digital Edition Subscribers: Read Roadracing World Magazine Now >
Roadracing - An Online Service of Roadracing World Magazine
May 16, 2013

Karel Abraham Will Try To Race, And Other Previews Of The MotoGP Event At Le Mans

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Karel Abraham (17).
Karel Abraham will race in Le Mans, one month after shoulder injury

Czech rider Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) is still rehabilitating after collar bone fracture sustained in Austin, Texas. That said, Karel Abraham will race in this weekend’s MotoGP event in Le Mans.

Karel Abraham:
“I am looking forward to getting back to racing. Hopefully we’ll all be able to do our best for good results. My shoulder has not quite healed yet, but it is much better compared to Jerez. I don’t think it is going to affect my performance very much. I am hoping for a dry race because the Le Mans circuit is notoriously known for having several types of asphalt, each with different adhesion qualities.”

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens MotoGP Team:

After the good feelings of Jerez, the Avintia Blusens MotoGP team faces the Le Mans round with great expectations

Although there was no reward for the Avintia Blusens MotoGP team at the Grand Prix of Jerez, Héctor Barberá?s performance in the practice sessions and Hiroshi Aoyama?s race proved the progression and the good work done by the team over the season so far. For one reason or another, they did not collect the fruits of their labor, but the riders and the technicians left the Andalucian track with the feeling of having taken a very positive step and being every day more competitive.
Due to its layout and length, the Le Mans track can be a good ally of the CRTs to shorten the differences with the prototypes and even at some point they can mix. The Avintia Blusens team arrives in Le Mans with high spirits and willing to be one of the protagonists of this weekend.

8 Héctor Barberá: I am quite good at the French circuit and the truth is that I like it. In Jerez we were very competitive in the qualifying and, although in the race we could not round off it because of a problem with the front wheel, I had very good feelings with the bike and that makes me think that we can be protagonists in the Le Mans race. The team is doing a fantastic work and every day we understand more each other. I can not wait to begin the practices to see where we are. The hand is well, so I face this round in top shape.

7 Hiroshi Aoyama: I like Le Mans but I have to say that it is not an easy circuit, especially because the weather conditions are often changeable. We have made significant improvements that could be seen in Jerez and I hope that this will happen again here in France. A technical problem left us without reward in Jerez but we proved to be competitive, so I hope to continue in this line and obtain a good result.

More, from a press release issued by Marc VDS Racing Team:

Gosselies, Belgium: The Marc VDS Racing Team head this weekend to the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, where Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are keen to continue the run of form that has seen a Marc VDS rider finish on the podium in every Moto2 race so far this season.

Redding heads to Le Mans off the back of a second place finish in Jerez - where he was one of only two non-Spanish riders on the podium - and a successful two-day test at the Almeria Circuit. The 20-year-old Briton currently trails championship leader Tito Rabat by just a single point but is keen to reverse the positions this weekend, on a track at which he finished on the podium last season.

A crash that forced him out of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez saw Kallio drop to seventh in the championship standings, but the 30-year-old Finn heads to France determined to close the gap to the top five. Kallio has enjoyed success at Le Mans previously, twice finishing on the podium in the 125cc category and taking a hard fought fifth place in last year's French Moto2 Grand Prix.

After an impressive debut that saw him finish in the points last time out in Jerez, Livio Loi heads to France with his sights set firmly on another top 15 finish. The 16-year-old Belgian won the opening round of the French Moto3 Championship at the track earlier this year and arrives in France full of confidence after a successful two-day test at the Aragon circuit in Spain.

Joining Loi in the Marc VDS Moto3 box this weekend at Le Mans will be Frenchman Jules Danilo, who will be making the first of three wild card appearances with the Marc VDS Racing Team.
The Elf logo will be prominent on all four of the Marc VDS bikes and riders at Le Mans, as part of an agreement that will see the French oil and lubricants giant as the primary sponsor of the Marc VDS Racing Team at five races this season, starting with the French Grand Prix this weekend.

Scott Redding #45:
"It's been a strong start to the season and, three races in, I'm just one point off the top of the championship standings. But this early on the championship standings are just names on a piece of paper. More important is approaching the Le Mans weekend as we have the previous three races, putting in the work during practice and qualifying to give us the best chance of a good result on Sunday. It's worked for us so far, so I don't see why it shouldn't work again this weekend."

Mika Kallio #36:
"We've put the disappointment of Jerez behind us now. The two-day test at Almeria was interesting, because we tried a set-up on the bike that is quite different to the one we've used for the first three races this season. The changes worked well at Almeria and we're confident they'll also work at Le Mans, where there are quite a few chicanes and hard braking points. An added advantage is that the revised set-up appears to offer more rear traction, which was our major problem in Jerez. Obviously we will confirm the new settings in practice at Le Mans, but I'm hopeful they'll work and we'll be back to where we were in Austin just two races ago."

Livio Loi #11:
"It was good to finish in the points on my debut in Jerez, but now I need to do the same again this weekend in Le Mans. I won the French Championship race at Le Mans earlier this year, so I know the track, but I'm hoping for slightly less snow when we return for the Grand Prix this weekend! Qualifying on the seventh row of the grid in Jerez made the race more difficult for me, so I need to focus on improving my grid position at Le Mans. I need to be more aggressive, more on the limit in qualifying. I was pushing hard in Jerez, but I think there is still some time to find and, hopefully, I'll be able to do this in Le Mans this weekend."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"At every race so far this season we've had a Marc VDS rider on the Moto2 podium and this is a trend I'd like to see continue this weekend in Le Mans. It is the first race of the season at which Elf will be our primary sponsor and I'd like nothing more than to give them something to celebrate at their home race, just as we did last season. I know Scott and Mika feel the same way and, as they've shown already this year, both are capable of finishing on the podium. Livio started strongly with a points scoring finish on his Moto3 debut in Jerez, a success I hope he can repeat this weekend, on a track at which he has already won a race this season. I'd also like to extend a warm welcome to Jules Danilo, who joins us this weekend in Le Mans for the first of three wild card appearances he'll make this season."

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair head to Le Mans looking to continue dominance of CRT category

The MotoGP World Championship is gathering pace as the European road trip moves north from Spain to France this weekend and the paddock sets up at one of the most legendary venues on the entire calendar: Le Mans. With a race every two weekends between now and the end of July, when Laguna Seca signals the start of the summer break, it is an intense period for the teams and riders. The Bugatti circuit plays host to the fourth round of eighteen with three different race winners aiming to become the first to double up, Dani Pedrosa having followed in the footsteps of Losail and Austin winners Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez last time out at Jerez.

Outside the top three in the championship Aleix Espargaró continues to be the standout rider, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar man breaking the mould on the ART machine to compete regularly with factory MotoGP prototypes. The Spaniard is the indisputable leader of the CRT category after three races and a clear favourite to retain the title he won last year. Randy De Puniet is aiming to make life difficult for his team-mate having also made a strong start to his season, which was scuppered by a crash last weekend at Jerez. The Frenchman is targeting a return to form in his home Grand Prix, where he wants to finish as the top CRT and close the gap to Aleix in the championship.

Aleix Espargaró: "We have started the championship in a great way and I am super happy with the way things are going. We keep closing the gap to the factory prototypes and that's a good sign, it shows we are doing a good job but our job is to be the best CRT. So far we are doing our job well and we have to keep working at it because there is no doubt that our rivals will close the gap. Le Mans is not one of my favourite tracks but I don't dislike it either. Last year was a bit strange because of the weather but it was the weekend when we found our base wet set-up and after that I always had a great feeling in the wet. Le Mans has a lot of hard braking and acceleration zones, which is where we suffer compared to the factory prototypes, but we will keep working hard and giving our best anyway."

Randy De Puniet: "This is my home race and Le Mans is always a very special weekend for me. We crashed at Jerez and didn't manage to finish the race and even though we haven't made a bad start to the year in general it has been below our expectations so hopefully we can turn things around this weekend. The results in the first two rounds were good but I am still not riding at the level I feel I can ride at so I will be aiming to do that this weekend with the support of the fans. We will start out with our base set-up on Friday and try to adapt it to the hard braking at Le Mans, which is a circuit that requires good stability and handling."

More, from a press release issued by MAPFRE Aspar Moto2 Team:


Nico Terol and Jordi Torres plan more hard work in France to build on positive Spanish results

The legendary Le Mans circuit, home of perhaps the most famous motorsport event on the planet in the 24 Hour race, this weekend plays host to the fastest sport on two wheels as the MotoGP World Championship paddock rolls into France, The fourth round of the Moto2 season sees no fewer than six riders with podium form already this year, with Tito Rabat leading the championship by a single point from Scott Redding and with the likes of Pol Espagaró, Nico Terol and Takaaki Nakagami in close attendance. After three sensational and unpredictable races so far Le Mans looks set to provide the stage for another classic on Sunday lunchtime.

It has been a superb start to the season for the MAPFRE Aspar Team, with both riders already showing signs of a potentially successful season. After taking his first victory in the class in Austin a month ago Nico Terol fought stoically for a valuable fifth place at Jerez, where he had struggled all weekend to find a set-up for his bike, meaning he currently lies fourth in the championship. His team-mate Jordi Torres also had to fight adversity before coming through to take a positive result at Jerez, crossing the line just two places behind Nico to move up to tenth in the championship and another step closer to the battle at the front.

Nico Terol: "I feel in great form at the moment, I feel like we have taken a big step forward. We scored our first win in this category in Austin but then had a tougher weekend at Jerez because of some grip problems but in the end we came out with an excellent result. I left Jerez feeling very happy with fifth place because we showed that we can react to problems. We know we can run at the front now and it is fundamental for us to finish either on the podium or close to it every weekend. All the hard work we have put in so far means that we can aspire to this level of consistency and the goal is to be up there fighting. I love Le Mans and last year I started to find my feet with this bike there. It sounds repetitive but Moto2 is always a lottery. Even so Le Mans is a good track for me and I will be going out there to get the best possible result. It is tight and has some hard braking zones so I think it ould suit our bike well."

Jordi Torres: "We go to Le Mans feeling more motivated than ever after another good result at Jerez. We also worked out a few things with the set-up there and found a really good feeling for the race, which was very satisfying. Now that we understand the bike better we are ready to take another step forward at Le Mans. It is a new circuit for me so I have had to try and learn it on the games console but it looks interesting and not too complicated so I am looking forward to riding it for real. Hopefully I can find my reference points quickly and start to work on the bike as soon as possible."

More, from a press release issued by MAPFRE Aspar Moto3 Team:


MAPFRE Aspar riders full of confidence with Folger in podium form and Granado closing on points

The 2013 season gathers pace this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship paddock moves north from Spain to France for the fourth round at the legendary Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, home of the world famous 24 hour race. The Grand Prix circuit measures just 4.180km and features a series of short straights, hard braking zones and tight chicanes. After three rounds of the Moto3 season there have been three different race winners and it would be no surprise to see four out of four this weekend given how close the top riders are in the championship - Viñales, Salom, Rins and Folger having all established themselves as the early title contenders.

MAPFRE Aspar Team rider Jonas Folger heads to Le Mans with renewed enthusiasm after scoring his first podium of the season at the third attempt in Jerez. Third place in Spain has given the German a timely boost and kickstarted a Moto3 title push that he hopes to see through to the end of the season. Meanwhile his rookie team-mate Eric Granado also took a step forward in the last round, closing in on the points-scoring positions. Now the Brazilian is looking to break into the top fifteen this weekend.

Jonas Folger: "I like Le Mans, I have always had a good feeling there and we arrive in optimistic mood after my first podium of the season at Jerez. We have shown in free practice that we have the pace but we need to maintain it right through the weekend and be more consistent in qualifying and the race. The goal this weekend is to improve our pace on used tyres because we seem able to run with the front group over the early laps and then struggle to stay in touch at the end. We spoke with the Kalex engineer about it at Jerez and we are going to try some new ideas at Le Mans. The podium at Jerez was a nice bonus but now we must continue to improve."

Eric Granado: "Le Mans is a new circuit for me but I have been watching videos and playing on the games console to try and learn it. It is short but it looks like fun. I am told that it tends to rain quite a lot in France so hopefully the weather is kind to us this weekend. I have been watching my diet very closely since I've been at home and training specifically to lose weight, which is important in this category because the bikes are so close. Hopefully I can learn the track quickly and find a good set-up. At Jerez we were close to the points but we were lacking a bit of race pace so that is what we need this weekend if we want to break into that top fifteen."

More, from a press release issued by Blusens Avintia Racing Team:

Toni Elías and Kyle Smith ready for Le Mans

Both hope to improve the results of Jerez at the French circuit

The Le Mans round will be the fourth Grand Prix of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship and the Blusens Avintia riders want to keep improving to achieve the expected results. Kyle will have to discover a new track again and try to adapt to it as fast as possible to save time working on the bike setting. For Toni, Le Mans is a race that brings him good memories and the layout of the circuit adapts well to the riding style of the Manresa rider.

The progression of the Blusens Avintia team in the Moto2 class is a fact and the French round should take the team and the riders a step closer to the desired positions.

24 Toni Elías: Le Mans is a circuit that I quite like. It has a few strong braking points combined with some fast corners that are also very interesting. I have good memories of this Grand Prix because it was where I got my first podium in 125cc, I won in 250cc in 2003 and I won again in Moto2 in 2010. So I can say that it is a circuit in which I feel at ease and where I hope to do it well. We are improving from race to race and the team is doing a great work and effort to achieve our goals. We have been clearly progressing and I hope to keep on doing so. I will not deny that I want to be higher but the best way to get this is focusing on doing a good work from race to race.

9 Kyle Smith: I arrive in an unknown circuit again but that will happen to me throughout the year, so the important thing is to adapt fast to the track. For what I know about it, I think I will like it and I hope to feel comfortable with its layout. In Jerez things did not go as we expected so in Le Mans I hope to continue with the progression that we had until then. Every day I am better and closer to the rivals. In France I want to improve and go one step further.

More, from a press release issued by Gino Rea's publicist:

Gino Rea set for Le Mans Moto2 wildcard

The Gino Rea Race Team, known as GRR8T, are ready for the up and coming Le Mans MotoGP round which will take place this weekend on 17-19th May. Gino will head the only British built FTR chassis in the Moto2 class.

Gino has had a shakedown test on the 2013 FTR Moto2 bike and is eager to get back into Moto2 action at Le Mans where he ran in third position during a wet race last year.

"I really can't wait to get back out on track at a MotoGP event. Up until last week I hadn't rode since November so I thought I'd be very rusty but surprisingly I felt at home straight away on the FTR Moto2 bike. We went through a lot a changes on the bike in a short amount of time to try and learn what works and what doesn't. We only had one and a half days on track so we really could do with another 3 day test. The Moto2 guys have been testing and racing all year so they are all going to be on top of their game. We just have to go to Le Mans and try to do the best possible job we can"

My team have done a fantastic job with the preparation of the whole set up, from designing the bike, stickers, logos, making a race vehicle, organising the bike, etc, etc, the list could go on and on and I'm sure any team owners reading this understand!"

"I feel each person needs a special mention for making this Moto2 wildcard happen- firstly, my Dad David, Mark Taylor and all at FTR, Dave Crawford, Kevin Horne, MotoBreaks, the Dunphys, Through The Wall Paint, Jap4Performance and everyone who has contributed through my website."

Interested sponsors can contact Gino Rea Race Team by emailing

Ginos fans can help by purchasing merchandise, hospitality passes and lots more at

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Le Mans, 16 May: MotoGP ascends to Le Mans this weekend for the Grand Prix de France at the legendary “Circuit des 24 Heures” which holds one of the longest traditions of Grand Prix racing on the current MotoGP schedule. At this week’s event LCR Honda MotoGP Team is pleased to announce that Elf will act as Title Sponsor branding Stefan Bradl’s Honda motorbikes ahead the fourth round of the season.

Elf is a brand of TOTAL, one of the largest major integrated oil and gas companies in the world, with activities in more than 130 countries. Elf, since the 70’s, never ended its commitment on the various prestigious motor sport platforms developing year after year the most advanced chemical technologies for producing top performing racing fuels, engine lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids including all kinds of industrial and automotive grease products.

Stefan: “We arrive at Le Mans with two DNFs from three rounds and some issues with the front-end that we partially solved in the Jerez test session. Le Mans is another good circuit which I like and in my debut year in the premier class I finished 5th. This increases my motivation and my will to be back at the front with the other guys. However, we are conscious of our set-up problems which affect my corner entries and my riding style. We collected further data in Jerez to begin the Le Mans weekend with a good base set-up and, session after session, we will try to adjust the package.”

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

The Bugatti Circuit, which is situated approximately 200 km (124 miles) from the City of Lights, has hosted the French Grand Prix since 1969, when Giacomo Agostini topped the 500cc class. Last modified in 2008, the track is currently 4.185 km long (2600 miles) and rather narrow, with several slow hairpins that riders approach hard on the brakes.

This fourth round of the championship promises to be rather unusual for the team, as Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider Ben Spies, still injured, will be substituted by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro. The Italian already rode at Jerez, in the first of three wildcard appearances that he’s making this season.

The Pramac Racing team would like to thank Ducati and Michele for their cooperation.

Michele Pirro – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“I’m happy to have this opportunity. This weekend I’ll use the same bike that Ben would have used. I’m sorry for him because I know he’s struggling due to his shoulder injury, and since MotoGP bikes are very physical, if you’re not truly fit, riding is difficult. I hope to do my best and to repay the trust that the guys from the team and Ducati have placed in me. We’re really working hard.”

More, from another press release issued by Pramac Racing:

The Bugatti Circuit, which is situated approximately 200 km (124 miles) from the City of Lights, has hosted the French Grand Prix since 1969, when Giacomo Agostini topped the 500cc class. Last modified in 2008, the track is currently 4.185 km long (2600 miles) and rather narrow, with several slow hairpins that riders approach hard on the brakes.

This fourth round of the MotoGP championship promises to be rather unique for the team, as the French Grand Prix is somewhat of an unknown for Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider Andrea Iannone.

The Italian, who last year finished fourth in the Moto2 race, is still recovering from a painful wound to his left knee incurred in a crash during the previous round, at Jerez. This limits his ability to use the leg to maneuver the bike, and in addition, Andrea is recovering from an operation to his right forearm just seven days ago. Fortunately, Iannone’s recovery is proceeding well, and his goal for this race is to continue the setup work done on the bike as well as possible.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“I can say that we’re in decent shape. Ever since the operation on Tuesday, the arm has been steadily improving. Now, though, it’s difficult to say: I think I’ll only really be able to understand my condition after doing some laps on the bike, so that I have a chance to try accelerating and braking and doing the movements that I normally do when I ride. My scar is really big; I have around 22 stitches that I’ll remove as soon as possible. That’s another reason that we’ll have to wait until tomorrow; I think that after the first session, I’ll understand what’s possible. It would certainly help us if it rains, but we’ll see. I’m here, and I want to try.”
Top 5 This Week