The lap times could barely have been closer throughout the MotoGP field today as qualifying practice took place for the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans, with no more than 2.5 seconds separating the entire grid. The battle for pole position took place for much of the session between Stoner and Pedrosa before Simoncelli staked a late claim, eventually missing out to the dominant Australian. After topping every practice session here so far Stoner is a clear favourite for the win tomorrow although this circuit has traditionally been kind to Spanish riders.
Fourteenth fastest but just 1.497 seconds off pole is MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá, who again discovered to his cost that anything less than 100% from rider and bike in MotoGP is not enough. The Spaniard is again struggling with corner entry here at Le Mans although he has worked hard throughout the weekend to improve his set-up and despite starting some way down the order he is confident of further improvements in tomorrow’s warm-up and the possibility of a strong race tomorrow. A repeat of last year, when he charged through the field in inclement conditions, would be ideal.
14th Héctor Barberá 1.34.650 (28 laps):
“I am having quite a lot of difficulty on the way into the turns. I don’t know why but I don’t feel comforable. We have looked at the telemetry and I am losing a lot in turns four and five. In the other corners I am riding well but I lose it all in that one section. We are going to try and solve this in the morning and even though we haven’t qualified well we will not give in. We have worked hard on used tyres but at the end of the session you always need a tow and plenty of rubber to set a good time. This category is so close that if you don’t have everything just right then other guys pass you like you’re standing still!”
Source: Aspar Media
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