Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

MotoGP tour de force hits Le Mans this weekend

MotoGP tour de force hits Le Mans this weekend

MotoGP tour de force hits Le Mans this weekend

Hot on the heels of an action-packed Chinese Grand Prix, the MotoGP teams and riders head back to Europe for the Alice Grand Prix de France. The fifth date on the World Championship calendar, this weekend's race could prove to be the turning point of the Championship.

American Nicky Hayden heads the overall classification, on a run of eight consecutive podium finishes. The Repsol Honda rider was second in Shanghai, with a win proving elusive this season. Kentucky's finest has a thirteen point advantage that he will be looking to extend in Le Mans.

Ducati Marlboro's Loris Capirossi is the nearest rival for Hayden, off the podium in China but still adding valuable points to his tally.

With his first victory in the premier class, Dani Pedrosa heads to France with the opportunity to lead the classification. Last Sunday's standout star, the Spaniard is third overall. Pedrosa has triumphed before in Le Mans, claiming the win in last year's 250cc race.

Despite an inauspicious start to the 2006 season, victory in Turkey pushed Marco Melandri up the standings. The 2005 season's second placed, rider, Melandri still has serious title aspirations.

Rookie sensation Casey Stoner has shown incredible form since his jump to MotoGP. The Australian rounds off a tight top five on the leaderboard having never finished outside the top six in the premier class.

Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi lies in sixth overall, having missed out on the opportunity of earning valuable points at both Jerez and China. A damaged tyre curtailed his race last weekend, and the French date will be the chance for redemption for the charismatic Italian, who won there last season in a classic battle with Sete Gibernau.

Although yet to place on the podium this season, Toni Elias has had a strong start in the World Championship. Fortuna Honda's Spanish rider continues racking up points, part of a second trailing pack of riders. Le Mans is the home of some rather unhappy memories for Elias, as last year he suffered an injury at the circuit which kept him out of the Italian Grand Prix.

With his first podium of 2006 in China, Colin Edwards moved his way up the standings. The Texan Tornado commented before the race that the chattering problem suffer thusfar depended heavily on the circuit, so will be hoping that Le Mans' slow rising turns are kind on the M1.

Shinya Nakano and Sete Gibernau complete the top ten in the overall classification.

In the BMW M Award, the prize given to the rider with the fastest times throughout the season, Nicky Hayden lies ahead of nearest rival Colin Edwards by over two seconds. Australian Chris Vermeulen lies in third, some way off the two Americans.

In 250cc, Andrea Dovizioso continues to lead the series. Despite still not having a win to his name in the quarter litre category, Humangest Honda's Italian star has shown his consistency so far this season to head the standings. There is no room to breathe for Dovizioso however, as Hector Barbera's is just three points behind after victory in Shanghai and the duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Hiroshi Aoyama are also increasing the pressure on the top two.

With only four races gone, Alvaro Bautista looks unstoppable in 125cc. The Master MVA Aspar rider is thirty points ahead of nearest challenger Mika Kallio, despite the Finn being victorious last weekend.

Built in 1965 around the existing 24-Hour track, the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit lies 5km south of the city of Le Mans and 200km south-west of Paris. The venue has hosted Grand Prix since the late sixties but a serious accident to Spanish rider Alberto Puig in 1995 saw it struck off the calendar until 2000 whilst stringent safety improvements were carried out. Le Mans is a tight track dominated by first gear corners that place the emphasis on late braking and hard acceleration, whilst rear end traction is also a key area. With the capacity to comfortably accommodate up to 100,000 spectators, the Bugatti circuit also plays host to the 24 hour truck race, the FIA GP2 Championship, French Touring Car and GT races.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE

Other updates you may be interested in ›