Le Mans, France
Over the past week or so, internet forums and bulletin boards across the US have been ablaze with complaints about the coverage of the French MotoGP Grand Prix at Le Mans. Or rather, the lack of it. For Speed TV - who have the broadcast rights for MotoGP in the USA - had originally planned to show the Le Mans MotoGP race only on Tuesday, two days after the event. Hundreds of emails have flooded into the station's inbox complaining about the lack of live coverage.
Those complaints appear to have helped. The French Grand Prix is now appearing on TV schedules as being shown live on Sunday morning, at 8am Eastern Time. So for anyone based in the US wanting to watch the race live, or record it to watch later, set your DVR to record, and hope the new schedule is correct. After the flood of complaints, a flood of thank you emails to Speed may help ensure that the races are all covered live.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class:
Kenny Noyes has taken an impressive first pole during qualifying for Moto2 at Le Mans, on his first ever race weekend at the track. The Jack & Jones rider set the fastest time with plenty of time left in the session, deposing quasi-local rider Yuki Takahashi, riding for the French Tech 3 team. Alex Debon put in another strong performance on the Aeroport de Castello FTR, finishing ahead of another local hero, Frenchman Jules Cluzel of the Forward Racing team.
Results and summary of Qualifying Practice for MotoGP:
Valentino Rossi took his first pole of the year at Le Mans, snatching the top spot from Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa with less than a minute to go. Adding insult to injury Rossi's Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo also shot ahead of Pedrosa as the final seconds ticked away, taking 2nd from his compatriot, leaving Pedrosa the final spot on the front row.
Results of 125cc qualifying at Le Mans:
In something of a revival for the Bancaja Aspar team, Nico Terol will start from pole for tomorrow's 125cc race here at Le Mans. The Spaniard edged out the man who had dominated the earlier sessions, Tuenti Derbi's Pol Espargaro, with a few minutes of the session left to run. Espargaro heads a fleet of Derbis once again, with the Ajo bikes of Sandro Cortese and Marc Marquez beside him on the front row, while Terol's teammate Bradley Smith starts from the head of the second row, in 5th.
While the first day of practice at Le Mans was - unusually - a crash-free affair, day 2 got off to a bad start, with falls in the 125 and MotoGP classes, as riders pushed too hard on a cool track. In the MotoGP class, Ben Spies, Alvaro Bautista and Mika Kallio all had big crashes, both Bautista and Spies highsiding spectacularly.
Things looked worst for Spies, the Texan being stretchered off to the Clinica Mobile, but after inspection - and worries about a fractured metatarsal bone in his left foot - Spies was pronounced badly bruised, but healthy. Spies and Kallio are both expected to ride this afternoon, the injuries not serious enough to prevent them.
Toni Elias headed up the second session of Moto2 free practice at Le Mans, though he was made to work for it during a very hectic last 10 minutes. The Gresini rider had a comfortable lead for most of FP2, but with 10 to go, Yuki Takahashi, Andrea Iannone and Raffaele De Rosa all took turns at the top of the timesheets. After the flag had fallen and the dust had settled, it was Toni Elias who came out on top, just eight thousandths of a second ahead of Andrea Iannone, and under five hundredths ahead of Tech 3's Yuki Takahashi, while BQR's Yonny Hernandez is a tenth behind Takahashi.
Casey Stoner was the fastest man on Saturday morning's second session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Le Mans, topping the timesheets early and staying there for the rest of the session. Stoner didn't quite have it all his own way, as Jorge Lorenzo put on a late surge to get within fifteen thousandths of the Marlboro Ducati rider. Lorenzo's FIAT Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi ended in 3rd, a quarter of a second behind Stoner, and just five hundredths ahead of Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.