Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi head this weekend to the French Grand Prix at the historic Bugatti circuit in Le Mans for round five of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
Ninth place in Jerez last time out was Morbidelli's best result to date and his first top ten finish since stepping up to the MotoGP class at the beginning of the season. The reigning Moto2 World Champion heads into the French Grand Prix in a confident frame of mind, after backing up his Jerez result with a positive test at the same circuit the following day.
While a crash late in the race means that Lüthi doesn't have the same positive memories of the Jerez weekend as his teammate, the Swiss rider's confidence was also boosted by what was an extremely productive test on the Monday following the race.
This weekend will see Morbidelli and Lüthi racing MotoGP machines around the 4.2km Bugatti circuit for the first time, but both have won races at the circuit previously.
Lüthi was victorious in Moto2 in both 2012 and 2015, but he also won twice in the 125cc class, with his first victory coming in 2005, the year he was crowned 125cc World Champion.
Morbidelli took the win at Le Mans in 2017, on his way to claiming the Moto2 World Championship title.
"We go to Le Mans after a positive race and an equally positive test in Jerez. The Le Mans circuit is very different to Jerez in character; very stop and go, so we know we will have some work to do with the bike during free practice. The stop part is not an issue, as we know we are strong in this area, but the go part, driving the bike out of the turns, is an area on which we know we will need to work to find improvements during the weekend. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead and to building on what we achieved in Jerez."
"It was disappointing to crash out of the race in Jerez, but the one day test on the Monday was an important one for us. We made another step with the bike, identifying in which direction we needed to go with the set up. I was able to improve my pace from the previous day, especially on used tyres, and that gives me a positive feeling going into Le Mans. The first practice sessions in Le Mans are going to be busy, as it's a new track for me with the MotoGP bike. I need to learn the lines and find the braking points, but I hope we can carry the momentum we gained at the Jerez test into this weekend at Le Mans."
"Le Mans is yet another new track for Franco and Tom on the Honda RC213V, so it's imperative that we work to get the set up dialled in to suit the stop start nature of the circuit as quickly as possible during free practice. Both made a step forward during the test in Jerez, finding improvements that brought about an increase in pace and that will stand us in good stead this weekend in France."
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