Ducati Team heads to “stop-and-go” Le Mans circuit

Having encountered at least one day of rain during every winter test and in every race so far except for Qatar, the two Ducati Team riders hope for a weekend with stable weather conditions at Le Mans as they continue working on the setup of the GP12.

Friday will find Valentino Rossi back on the track where he finished on the podium last year, and with the Portuguese post-race test having been cancelled due to bad weather, he’ll start with the settings he used at Estoril race, with the goal of improving upon his seventh-place finish there.

Nicky Hayden also hopes to do better than in Portugal, and although he doesn’t count the French circuit among his favourites, he thinks some of its characteristics could be a good match for his Ducati.

VALENTINO ROSSI:
“It’s a shame that we lost the post-race test in Portugal because we would have continued our development work, and as we had very recent data from the race, we could have made some interesting comparisons. Still, this won’t influence us much from a technical point of view at Le Mans, as any updates would have arrived later anyway. In France, we’ll prepare for the race by working on the bike like we did at Estoril, starting from the base setup that we’re now a bit more familiar with and trying to continue with the settings one step at a time, in such a way that we reach Sunday at the maximum of our current potential. Le Mans is another place where the weather can be challenging, particularly at this time of year, but it’s also the track where I had my best result with the Ducati last year. We’ll see how it goes, but we’d like to do a little better than we did in Portugal.”

NICKY HAYDEN:
“I certainly wouldn’t say Le Mans is my favourite track on the calendar, but there are some things that I like about it. Sometimes it lacks grip somewhat, which I don’t like so much. On the other hand, it has a fair amount of hard braking, and I think some of those parts should suit our bike well. It will also be interesting to be at a different type of track compared to what we’ve seen so far this year. It’s a shame we didn’t get to test in Portugal because it certainly would have been nice to try a few things, but we’ll get to France, see what kind of weather we get, and try to get a good result.”

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“Le Mans is a bit strange, a classic stop-and-go track that’s very different from Estoril. This will give us an opportunity to check the work that we’re doing on the GP12’s setup: Valentino used it all weekend at the last GP, so we’ll continue like that in an effort to also make progress at Le Mans, where he had a really nice race last year. Though this isn’t one of Nicky’s preferred circuits, he’ll also use the experience he has gathered while using this setup on the GP12 since the start of the championship.”

LE MANS CIRCUIT RECORDS
Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2011), 1:33.617 – 160.932 Km/h (99.999 mph)
Best Pole: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2008), 1:32.647 – 162.617 Km/h (101.045 mph)
Circuit Length: 4.185 km
MotoGP Race 2012: 28 laps (117.180 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2012: 2 p.m. local time
PODIUM 2011: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Andrea Dovizioso, 3rd Valentino Rossi
POLE 2011: Casey Stoner (Honda), 1:33.153 – 161.733 Km/h (100.496 mph)

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