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Interesting stats and facts ahead of the MotoGP race in France

Interesting stats and facts ahead of the MotoGP race in France

Interesting stats and facts ahead of the MotoGP race in France

No French rider has won on home soil since 1982 when the Grand Prix was held at Nogaro and three of the races where won by home riders: 125cc - Jean-Claude Selini, 250cc - Jean-Louis Tournadre and 350cc - Jean-Francois Baldé. No French rider has won at Le Mans since 1979 when Guy Bertin won the 125cc race and Patrick Fernandez won the 350cc race.

This is the 600th Grand Prix to be held in the premier-class of motorcycle Grand Prix racing. Italy and the USA are currently equal top in terms of wins in the premier-class, with each nation having taken 150 GP victories.

No rider in the MotoGP class has won back-to-back races since Valentino Rossi in Portugal and then Brazil last year. Rossi starts from pole for the thirteenth time in the premier-class. On only two occasions has he failed to win from his previous twelve pole positions: at Mugello in 2001 when he crashed out near the end of the race and in South Africa last year when he finished second to Ukawa. Rossi's time is the fastest ever lap of the Le Mans circuit by a motorcycle. The top 14 riders on the grid have lapped faster than the existing lap record.

Alex Barros starts from the front row for the first time in 2003. Loris Capirossi, who is starting from the front row for the third consecutive race, won the 250cc race at Le Mans back in 1994.

Marco Melandri starts from the front row for the first time in the MotoGP class and becomes the youngest rider to start from the front row in the premier-class since Norick Abe at the Rio GP in 1995.

Max Biaggi has not qualified for the front row for the first time in 2003. Biaggi has finished on the podium for the last two years at Le Mans including winning the race in 2001. Tohru Ukawa, who had his 30th birthday last Sunday, won the 250cc GP at this circuit in 2000.

Norick Abe's tenth place on the grid is his best grid position since the Spanish GP last year. Abe has finished in the top four at Le Mans for the past three seasons, including a second place finish in 2000 less than half a second behind Alex Criville.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Grand Prix Polini de France

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