Rossi is currently fourth in the championship rankings, but only nine points from the top. Knowing that the Le Mans circuit is usually well-suited to his Yamaha‘s nimble character, the Italian is looking to score his third podium finish of the season, and the odds are in his favour.
Traditionally, the Doctor scores competitive results at the French GP. Throughout his premier class career he has collected three victories at Le Mans (2002, 2005, and 2008), six second places (2003, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016), and four third places (2000, 2001, 2011, and 2018).
Viñales returned to the podium at the previous round in Jerez, which is essentially a difficult track for him. The third-place confidence boost made him determined to also pay a visit to the French rostrum again, of which he has fond memories. In 2017 the Spaniard secured a hard-fought win there on his YZR-M1, and one year earlier he also scored a MotoGP third-place race result.
The number-12 rider moved up from 12th to 6th place in the championship a fortnight ago and now has a 40-point gap to the leader. After last week‘s test he approaches the race in Le Mans with a positive mindset and will be giving his all to further fight his way up the standings.
The Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit was built in 1965, just a few kilometres from the city of Le Mans. MotoGP made its first visit to the iconic French track in the late sixties, and it remained a fixture until 1995. After some safety modifications, the 4.2km-long circuit was added back to the calendar in 2000. Its lay-out of five left and nine right corners places the emphasis on late braking, hard acceleration, and rear-end traction, which makes for some great battles, such as the head-to-head between Viñales and Rossi in 2017 to score Yamaha its 500th Grand Prix win.
For those who want to get to know the circuit better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s official Factory MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti‘s eLap around Le Mans, setting a new world record time.