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It may have been Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who earned pole position at the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France, but there’s a trio of hungry GP19 riders who are out to take it to the Honda rider on Sunday afternoon.
Marquez masters the wet to survive Ducati dust up
Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci heads the Ducati charge from a season-best P2 starting slot and the Italian is understandably pleased with his Saturday’s work in tricky conditions.
“Qualifying today was really difficult because the condition of the track was really difficult to understand, the track wasn’t really wet and it wasn’t really dry,” began the factory rider. “The strategy made by my team was really good, starting immediately and trying to push at the beginning and it was good because the track was in good condition at the beginning. Lap by lap it was getting worse and I'm happy it was my target to start from the first two rows. I missed the pole position again but I’m really happy for today.
Petrucci: “The strategy was good. The track got worse lap by lap”
“The good thing is that we are fast in both conditions. I think we can fight for the podium but we have to understand how it will be tomorrow. But starting from the first row is a big help for me.”
Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller lines up alongside Petrucci to launch from his first front row start of the season. Again, the Australian was happy with his performance and sounds confident of taking it to the front guys in Sunday’s race.
“It was good, we worked hard all weekend. In FP1 we really did a lot of laps on used tyres and tried to manage it the best I could,” said Miller, who wants to go one better than his P4 in last year’s French GP this time around.
“Felt really good so whether it’s wet conditions tomorrow or dry, I feel we’ve got good speed in both. We’ll just do the maximum we can, we’ve got a great starting position and I think we can really take it to the guys. Last year we finished fourth so this year we’re looking to go one better and put it on the podium – wet or dry.”
Jack Miller ready to go from the front row, “wet or dry”!
And finally, title contender Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) spearheads the fourth row of the grid as he aims to rectify crashing out of the 2018 French GP.
“I think our speed in those conditions was good, it was difficult to manage – that’s why there were a lot of crashes but to start fourth I’m really happy,” explained Dovi. “Because in these conditions it’s easier to make a mistake than a really good lap time. But I would like to make the warm up in the dry because we wanted to try something and today we couldn’t.”
Like everybody, Dovi isn’t sure what conditions will bring for Sunday. But he is expecting a close contest if we get a dry race: “I think if it will be a dry race, there will be a lot of confusion because there are a lot of riders with very similar pace and all four Yamahas are so strong, but they start a little bit at the back, apart from Vale. Marc is very fast, Cal is fast and the three Ducatis – I think we are quite competitive. So when you have a really similar pace, everybody wants it and everybody can find for the podium. It will be a hard race.”
Tune into the MotoGP™ race on Sunday at 14:00 local time (GMT+2) to see if the Ducatis can stop Marquez and the Yamahas in Le Mans.
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