Team Suzuki Press Office – May 12.
Round five of the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship will see the series head to the classic track of Le Mans Bugatti in northern France.
Team Suzuki Ecstar are on the hunt for a podium at the French Grand Prix this weekend, after a tricky fourth round in Jerez saw Joan Mir clinch a Top-five finish, and Alex Rins suffer a DNF.
Le Mans has brought about mixed results for reigning champion Mir, who won here in 2017 but finished 11th last year. Similarly, Rins did not finish the French GP in 2020, but in the past he has had several Top 10 MotoGP finishes, and a win in Moto2 in 2016.
Situated in the Sarthe region of France, Le Mans is synonymous with motorsports of all kinds thanks to its long history of events. The Bugatti track used by the MotoGP™ field was built in 1965 and can be classed as a ‘stop & go’ circuit featuring several tight corners and fast flowing sections.
Curiosity – GP of France: Together with Phillip Island, the French GP is the one where the riders spend the least amount of time at full throttle; only 16% of the total race.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader & Team Director:
“During the last race in Jerez we suffered a bit, especially as Alex had a DNF, although Joan managed to keep a nice pace and get a useful Top-5 finish. It wasn’t an easy race for us, it was tricky to manage the tyres and conditions, but we had a test day in Jerez on Monday after the race and that was very positive. We worked on many areas and found a lot of useful information that we hope to use in the coming races. Now we’re in Le Mans and we’re ready to try again to get good results for both our riders. The weather here is always quite mixed and it often rains, so we will have to take that into account too!”
“I enjoyed the test in Jerez, and I’m ready to take another step here in Le Mans. We may struggle a bit on this layout as on paper our bike struggles at ‘stop & go’ circuits, and also because the weather can make everything tougher. But obviously we want to get a strong finish and as many points as possible, so I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike and giving my best.”
“After the crash in Jerez I felt that my shoulder was a bit sore, it’s the same one that I injured last year so naturally I was a little bit concerned. I rode in the morning at the Jerez Test but I finished early so that I could go home and get my shoulder checked. There’s been no further damage found, so I have just been undergoing some treatments to ease it ahead of Le Mans. This is a circuit that can be unpredictable, but I’m looking forward to riding again and I want to bring my team a nice finish.”