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Le Mans maintains the MotoGP battle

Le Mans maintains the MotoGP battle

Round three of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship takes place at the French circuit, as the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France sees Jorge Lorenzo attempt to defend his early Championship lead.

The MotoGP World Championship arrives at Le Mans this weekend for the third round of the 2010 campaign, the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, as the battle for an early advantage at the top of the standings continues.

Jorge Lorenzo currently sits in prime position following his fine win at Jerez and the French circuit of Le Mans is one at which he has enjoyed great success in his two premier class seasons to date. Last year the Fiat Yamaha rider won an eventful race that started as a wet contest but ended on dry tyres, and it was a result that was the start of a run of six straight podium finishes. Having finished second the year before, the Spaniard will be in confident mood as he looks to stretch what is a narrow four-point lead over team-mate and rival Valentino Rossi.

The Italian also has a strong pedigree at the circuit, despite last season’s 16th-placed finish there. Rossi has three premier class victories at Le Mans (2002, 2005 and 2008), and will reignite his duel with Lorenzo and company. For Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, whose three previous wins there have been in the 250cc and 125cc classes, he will want to close the 16-point gap from his present third place in the standings to top spot by at least repeating his podium finish from last year’s race. Second place at Jerez three weeks ago will have placed him in a more than positive frame of mind.

The Spaniard’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso has started the season strongly with a podium in Qatar and a top-six finish at Jerez, and in France he will want to get on the podium for the first time in the premier class, having just missed out last season. Ducati Marlboro rider Nicky Hayden’s hunger for a top-three finish will also be strong after consecutive fourth places in the opening two rounds of 2010, but he will have to improve on a best placement of fifth at Le Mans.

Randy de Puniet’s home GP will provide plenty of motivation for the LCR Honda rider, who at present is the highest placed private team rider in the Championship ahead of Colin Edwards of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. Edwards has twice been on the podium at Le Mans, the last time being 2008.

In eighth place in the standings Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) will be desperate to score big points and place higher than his best-ever finish of third, which came in his Championship-winning season of 2007. Level on points with him are Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) who makes his MotoGP debut on the circuit, and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) who has been on the podium three times in MotoGP at Le Mans including a win in 2006 and second place last year.

His team-mate Marco Simoncelli, Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing), Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) follow in the standings. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) will ride despite having just had surgery on a broken collarbone, with Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) also hoping to build on his single point so far.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2010, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE

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