2019 French Moto GP Preview: Battle in Le Mans  

 The 2019 French Moto GP and sixth race of the calendar is taking place this weekend at the Le Mans circuit. The championship is as close as ever with Marc Marquez, Alex Rins, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi leading the table just nine points apart. 

Fabio Quartararo, boosted by his home crowd, is also likely to end up joining the ‘fantastic four’ at the top. The pilot form Nice claimed in Jerez the title of youngest ever pole-holder in the history of MotoGP.

Now the twenty-year-old wants to redeem himself after the Spanish GP, where a mechanical issue left him out of the game. And what better way of moving on than by shining in his native country. 

Márquez, cautious and Lorenzo, hoping to find his feet

After his dominant win in Spain, Marquez arrives at the French GP back at the lead. His performance in Andalucia served to show the world he is back to his usual brilliant self. No trace of the clumsiness that he showed in Argentina.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ8OSkffn70” ]

The Honda #93 will be hoping to iterate his triumph at La Sarthe in 2018 and widen his advantage in the standings. The Spaniard, who holds the record of having achieved the most poles in Le Mans, has been cautious in his forecasts. He is well aware of the size of the many rivals that attempt to dethrone him every Sunday. He is also concerned about the likelihood of rain.

His teammate Jorge Lorenzo, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be able to get back on his feet. A mixture of injuries, falls, mistakes and uneasiness with his new bike, have made him a regular of the lower area of the grid. His two twelfth positions since arriving in Honda are weighing him down heavily.

Even in Spain, where many fans trusted on his recovery, he finished behind the Top Ten. It is not surprising that he is currently fourteen on the standings and really painful to see a three-time MotoGP champion (2010, 2012 and 2015) falling so low.

He nevertheless remains the most successful driver of the 21st century at Le Mans where he conquered the glory in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016. If there is a track for him to stage a comeback, this is definitely the one. 


Rins after his second victory and perhaps the leadership

Alex Rins leads the pack of wolves chasing the leader. After a somewhat hesitant beginning of season, the pilot from Barcelona has been consistently making ground and is in extraordinary form. One just has to look at his latest two performances.

Rins won in the United States and was runner-up behind Marquez in Spain, taking second place in the standings at just one point from the leader. With this trajectory, he arrives at the French Grand Prix in great spirits. On the downsidelast year he only managed a tenth place in 2018 Le Mansbut statistics are there to be broken.

In addition, he has a great rapport with his Suzuki GSX-RR, a machine that has demonstrated a great evolution overallThe Catalan pilot is sure to put up a great fight… and a great show.

Doviin hostile territory 

Andrea Dovizioso represents the opposite case to that of Rins. He started the campaign on a high with a triumph in Qatar and a third place in Argentina, but he hasn’t been up the podium since. 

The Ducati #4 has only won in Le Mans on one other occasion in 2004 on 125cc. Also against him is the fact that the Italian brand has never won at france in MotoGP.

Everything seems to be against the pilot from Forlimpopoli. He can only count on his extraordinary consistency which will no doubt allow him to stay on the top positions.

Rossi, after his third podium

Valentino Rossi is facing the 2019 French MotoGP with great optimism. Thanks to his two second places in Argentina and the United States he is fourth in the standings at just nine points from his nemesis Marquez.

The Yamaha #46 seems to be getting a second wind. He has won on the French track in 2002, 2005 and 2008 but it could very well be that the top of the race has a fluorescent yellow tint this weekend. In 2008, he was third.

As for what his partner Maverick Viñales is going to do, it is anyone’s guess. Seemingly plunged into a roller coaster ride, the pilot from Rosas is bound to return to the path of success, but Yamaha’s patience is running out. Perhaps, his third position and first podium of the year in Jerez are a sign of things to come.

Images: Repsol-Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha & Ducati.

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