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Yamaha finally bounce back with two riders in the top five at Le Mans

Yamaha finally bounce back with two riders in the top five at Le Mans

Yamaha finally bounce back with two riders in the top five at Le Mans

The start of the 2003 MotoGP World Championship has not been a pleasant one for Yamaha. With at least five factory bikes on the grid (sometimes six counting the M3 presence of Norick Abe) the firm had yet to score a podium after three races; the highest result had been two fifths thanks to Alex Barros (and might have been more had the Brazilian not injured his knee ligaments at the season opener in Japan). Added to the gloom was the fact that ´new boys´ Ducati clinched a top three result in their first ever GP with the new Desmosedici.

Finally, last weekend in France, the manufacturer that claimed two race wins during the ´Valentino Rossi and Honda show 2002´, won a trophy for Barros´ third place and also saw home rider Olivier Jacque score his best ever MotoGP result with fourth place. To further put a smile on the Yamaha bosses faces, Marco Melandri was running as high as 3rd in the dry race in only his second event in the class.

Here are the words of Barros and Jacque after an important GP for the Gauloises team morale.

Alex Barros 3rd: ´I´m really happy to finally be back on the podium after my accident in Suzuka. I´m also delighted to have been able to take the lead at the start of both races. I think that we chose too soft a tyre for the first dry race, as after eight laps I couldn´t maintain the rhythm. In the wet race I also didn´t have the same level of grip as Sete or Valentino and at the end had to watch them both from a distance. Now we have a couple of very important races coming up. We have tested at both Mugello and Barcelona and posted good lap times there, so hopefully I´ll be able to continue fighting for podium places.´

Olivier Jacque: ´What an incredible race! On the sighting lap before the start of the second heat I immediately realised that the mixed tyres I´d opted for weren´t the right choice and so decided to come back into the pits and change. It was a decision that paid off, as in spite of having to start from the box, I was soon overtaking other riders. In the end I achieved my best result since moving up to MotoGP and given my team and myself a much needed boost. Hopefully this will be the start of a series of successes´

MotoGP, 2003

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