Le Mans, France

Le Mans MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Pole vs Pace, Tires vs The Weather, VR46 vs Avintia, And 2022 Satellite Rides

Ironic. During the soaking wet first session of practice for the MotoGP class at Le Mans yesterday, there were no fallers. On Saturday morning, with the sun high in the sky – well, low in the October sky, but with nary a cloud in sight – the morning session for MotoGP turned into a crash fest, six riders going down. That was one more than in the treacherous drying conditions of FP2 on Friday afternoon. By the end of the day, three more riders had gone down, bringing the total number of crashes in MotoGP to nine, nearly twice as many as Friday.

Why so many crashes when the track condition is so good? In part because today was dry, and Q2 beckoned. The riders had one shot, and had to push. More than this, though, MotoGP is at Le Mans in October, and even on bright, sunny days, the track temperature is on the very bottom limit of the range within which the Michelin tires will operate. With a cold wind whipping out from behind the grandstands as the riders headed into the braking zone for the chicane, it was easy to get caught out by the cold left-hand side of the tires. And that meant a trip through the gravel.

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2020 Le Mans MotoGP FP4 Result: Quartararo Rapid In Red Flagged Session

The sun shining over Le Mans came with a cold track and breezy conditions, making it a tricky proposition for the premier class on their final practice outing. The package deal also included several crashes and a red flag coming out 12 minutes into the session, when Miguel Oliveira’s KTM started smoking and leaking out of turn 7. After an impressively rapid clean-up operation, Fabio Quartararo resumed his even more impressive pace on worn rubber, although teammate Franco Morbidelli came within five thousandths of a second of demoting the Frenchman from top spot.

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