De Puniet looking for top CRT glory on home soil

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Randy de Puniet fought through the pain barrier to qualify as the fastest CRT rider at his home Grand Prix this afternoon.

The Power Electronics Aspar rider will start from twelfth position on the grid at Le Mans tomorrow, his second best qualifying result of the year after taking tenth at Jerez. Once again he has qualified as the highest CRT rider on the grid and his goal is to take the same honour in tomorrow's race and join the three podium finishers in parc fermé.

De Puniet's teammate Aleix Espargaró did not enjoy such a good day today, however, suffering an engine problem this morning and another breakdown this afternoon when his oil level sensor light came on. With two crashes yesterday it has been a tough weekend so far for the Spaniard, who starts tomorrow's race from seventeenth - his worst qualifying result of the season - as he defends his position as the leading CRT rider in the championship.

12th Randy de Puniet

"I am satisfied because it has been a tough weekend so far because of the pain from my crash at Estoril. I am struggling to ride but we've been taking things step by step and I am twelfth on the grid, ahead of a factory rider for the second time this season. That's perfect because this is my home race - the only problem here is with the weather. Hopefully it doesn't rain but we'll see. I am ready to fight and am feeling confident because I feel good on the ART and I am determined to be the first CRT across the line. The fans are giving me a lot of support and even though I won't be on the podium I want to give them something to cheer about."

17th Aleix Espargaró

"I can't remember having a more difficult weekend in my career, with so many crashes and mechanical failures. I was struggling physically yesterday but I was able to fully focus today and it was still a disaster, but we still have the race to come and I hope things are different. I was really only able to do a lap and a half today - the track was almost perfect at the end but it started to rain again with three minutes to go and that ruined it for me. I am faster in race trim than my position suggests so let's see if I can keep pace with Randy tomorrow."

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