GP of France (Le Mans): Lorenzo, the king of Le Mans

2018-05-17 09:33
Ducati in Le Mans
- Jorge Lorenzo has 6 victories making him the rider with the most wins at Le Mans in history. His victories are: one in 250cc (2007) and five in MotoGP (2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016).

- Le Mans stands next to Qatar and Mugello for the number of times Jorge Lorenzo has won.

- The fastest lap at Le Mans is held by Jorge Lorenzo with a time of 1'31.975.

- Ducati boasts the highest maximum speed ever achieved at Le Mans, at 316.60 km/h.

- The first time Lorenzo qualified on the front row was at the 2003 French Grand Prix as a 125cc rider. Two years later, he qualified on the front row in the 250cc class for the first time at Le Mans.

- Lorenzo has twice won at Le Mans starting from pole position: In 2007 as a 250cc rider, and in 2016.

- Dovizioso won the French GP in 2004 after overtaking Locatelli on the last lap. In that race, the third rider on the podium was Jorge Lorenzo.

- In the 2006 GP, Dovizioso fought for the victory and was first after overtaking in the last corner. But he lost the race in the short acceleration between the final corner and the finish line.

- Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso battled for the victory at the 2007 French GP until the last corner. The triumph ultimately went to the Spanish rider.

- Lorenzo and Dovizioso have stood together on the Le Mans podium four times. In addition to those times noted in 2004 and 2007, they stood side by side in 2010 and 2015.

- In his first race in the MotoGP class at Le Mans, Jorge Lorenzo came to France with fractures in both his ankles. He nevertheless finished second after making an incredible comeback from 11th position.

- The best results for Valentino Rossi with Ducati were in Le Mans where he finished 2nd in 2011 and 3rd in 2012. The French circuit was the only track where he managed to get on the podium in the two years he competed with the Italian bike.

- Ducati has never managed to win at Le Mans. Their best results were the second positions they had with Capirossi in 2006 and with Rossi in 2012.

Curiosities

- The Championship has visited the Le Mans track 30 times, making it the fourth circuit with the most numbers of GPs contested in history, behind the 69 of Assen, the 40 of Spa-Francorchamps, and the 32 GPs contested at Jerez.

- In 1969, the first GP was held at the Le Mans track. Giacomo Agostini won that first race, lapping all other competitors.

- In 1991, two GPs were held on French soil: the French GP, held at Paul Ricard, and the Vitesse du Le Mans GP, held at Le Mans. It was the only year that France held two races in the same year.

- The Le Mans circuit is a so-called stop & go track, due to the good part of its layout being composed of strong accelerations from low speed, followed by hard braking. There are 7 areas that accelerate from speeds below 100 km/h.

- The hardest braking occurs at the entrance of the turn 9, known as "Chemin aux Bœufs" [bull trail], where it goes from 286 km/h to 107 km/h. The riders spend 4.2 seconds braking at a distance over 228 meters. It is the point where overtaking occurs and where the riders run off track the most.

- Riders brake for 26% of a lap at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit.

- It has the shortest straight of the championship at only 450 meters, and the fastest corner of the entire calendar, which is negotiated at a speed of more than 200 km/h.

- It is the third shortest circuit of the Championship, behind Sachsenring and Cheste.

- Le Mans is one of the circuits where it often rains. In 2002 the race was stopped early; in 2003, a second race had to be held; in 2006 the race was declared wet though for the entire race the circuit was dry; in 2007 there was heavy rainfall; in 2008 it rained steadily for the entire race ; In 2009 the riders had to enter to change bikes under the "flag to flag" rule; In 2011 there was a threat of rain before the race; in 2012 again the race was held in heavy rain and also in 2013.

- 94 crashes were recorded over the weekend in last year’s race. 21 of them in turn 3, and 17 in turn 6 – the two most difficult corners.

- The track for the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans uses only a small part of the circuit where the motorcycles race, specifically from the finish line to turn 6, called La Chapelle. From this point, the car circuit route goes beyond the limits of the city for a total of 13.63 km, much longer than the 4.2 km that the MotoGP riders race over.

- The chicane at the end of the first corner gives Le Mans one of the most difficult starts of the championship. There have been many crashes due to the change of direction that comes after a long, high-speed right hand corner.

- In 1985 at Le Mans, Freddie Spencer had the last double victory in 250cc and 500cc. No one has tried to repeat such a feat since; today it would be impossible because the rules do not allow participation in two races on the same day.

- Le Mans is located about 200 km southwest of Paris, in the Pays de la Loire region. It has a population close to 150,000 inhabitants and is the twentieth most populated city in France.

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