Louis Rossi reflects on emotional first win in front of home crowd

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

In horrendous weather conditions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, Le Mans local Louis Rossi recorded his first ever win in front of an ecstatic home crowd in the Moto3™ class.

Having shown promising glimpses all season since joining Racing Team Germany at the start of 2012, the young Frenchman made history in Sunday’s race, by not just recording his first ever win, but also taking the first French victory at the Bugatti circuit since 2008, when Mike Di Meglio won in the 125cc class.

Rossi, who’s previous best result was ninth, had a terrific first lap, where he moved from 15th up to sixth place in extremely wet conditions. He subsequently ran with the lead group, which slowly reduced in size as Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar), Jakub Kornfeil (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta), Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and finally Maverick Viñales (Blusens Avintia) all crashed out of the race. With eight laps remaining the Frenchman was in first place with a margin of over 20 seconds to second place. A very mature and controlled final few laps saw the local take the win, to promote him to seventh in the world championship standings.

The race started in very difficult conditions, with lots of water on the track. How did you cope with that and what was your strategy?

"I had a very good start. I quickly found the right rhythm and managed to pass a lot of riders. Once I was with the front group, I could not quite stay with them because there are always a lot of crashes in the rain, and I did not want to hit, or run into someone, and fall. It was important for me to hang back and watch what was happening because I knew I had the pace. Then the first riders fell. In the rain, there are always some riders trying to go very fast that eventually make a mistake."

"When only Oliveira and Viñales were in front of me, I stuck with them. I did not think they would make a mistake, but eventually Viñales fell, just after Oliveira, and I found myself alone in the lead, with a fair gap over second. I dropped my pace a little so as not to make a mistake. It was not used to keeping the pace at the front, which was a second and a half or two seconds faster than the others. I then finished the race trying to be as accurate as possible and very concentrated."

What went through your head when Viñales fell right in front of you and you realized that you were in the lead?

"I had a moment where I was excited like a child. It lasted about a second, as I knew I would crash if I rode like that, so I instantly re-focussed. There was a straight just after Viñales’ fall, which allowed me to reflect, and to tell myself not making a mistake in the following turns."

This was not only your first win, but also your first podium in France, in your hometown...

"It was a dream scenario. My first podium also being my first win was great. Now, when I’m pushing hard the next time, I will have a little less pressure to cope with, as I won’t be wondering when my first win will come. Last night, we reviewed the race with some friends and some of my partners and it was really fun. This is when you see the progress you have made."

Early in the season, you surely knew you'd have the opportunity to fight for the podium in several races this year. Does a victory in your fourth outing change the way you’re now approaching the championship?

"It doesn’t change anything. I realize that it was under extraordinary conditions and it's hard to do this on a regular basis. I don’t have the level of Viñales or Cortese (Sandro, Moto3 leader of Red Bull KTM Ajo). You have to work. It doesn’t change our objectives and how we work. However, I have taken a step forward in my career as I can now look towards Laurent Fellon (Zarco's coach) and Johann Zarco (125cc World Championship runner up, who has made a great start to the Moto2™ season) in terms of what I want to achieve."

"I'm going to train with them this week. I will learn how to use my rear brake, which I don’t normally usually use, and will then try to progress technically, working on my riding position, race management, consistency, concentration and many other things. It is very important because for me, as I manage a lot of things myself in my life (Louis is his own manager). I now need to take more time to focus solely on my riding."

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