Bridgestone Motorsport Wrap for May 18th 2009
Lorenzo dominates at Le Mans
Spain's Jorge Lorenzo has snatched the lead in the MotoGP championship after coping best with changing weather conditions at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
All riders started on Bridgestone's soft wet tyres but switched to slicks as the circuit dried following a day of intermittent rain.
The timing of the change to Bridgestone's slick tyres mid-race was crucial in a grand prix that saw frantic overtaking and position changes amid greasy conditions and pit-stops as riders changed to their dry condition bikes.
Jorge Lorenzo delivered a dominating performance for Fiat Yamaha, gaining the lead on the opening lap and never looking back as he established a comfortable gap. He was among the last riders to pit and subsequently stamped his authority on the race with a series of fastest laps.
"Our wet tyre has shown good durability today so I am very happy. Even in the drying conditions Jorge was getting faster and faster each lap until Marco Melandri went faster on the slick tyre, so this shows our wet tyre has a sufficiently wide range to cover all wet and damp situations," said Tohru Ubukata, Bridgestone Motorsport's Manager of Motorcycle Race Tyre Development.
"Also, the Bridgestone slick tyre performed well on damp conditions so we can see that with just wet and slick tyres we cover all conditions we can expect during a race weekend."
Lorenzo's joy was the reverse of Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi who had a nightmare as he sought his 99th career victory but in the end trailed in without scoring a point.
With 23 laps remaining, Rossi pitted to change bikes and go on to dry tyres but then came to grief on a corner. With his bike damaged, he had to guide it back to the pits to get on a new one. But his day went from bad to worse as he was then penalised for speeding in the pit lane.
Australia's Casey Stoner finished fifth to remain just one point behind Lorenzo in the championship.
Standings (After 4 of 17 races)
| 1||Jorge Lorenzo ||Yamaha||66|
| =2.||Valentino Rossi ||Yamaha ||65|
| =2.||Casey Stoner ||Ducati||65|
| 4.||Dani Pedrosa ||Honda||57|
|=5. ||Andrea Dovizioso||Honda||43|