Andrea Dovizioso is hoping that a new clutch design for his Repsol Honda, which gave positive results at the post-race Estoril test, will help him claim his first podium of the season in this weekend's French MotoGP at Le Mans.
The Italian, a best of fourth (twice) in the three races so far this season, found that the new clutch reduced the RCV's hopping under braking, while bike set-up changes also enhanced stability.
“After the improvements made in the post GP test in Estoril, we arrive in Le Mans more competitive,” he said. “We will use the new clutch we tested in Portugal and take advantage of the set-up solutions tested there.”
Dovizioso has an encouraging record at Le Mans, finishing on the podium six times from his nine appearances in all GP classes - more than at any other circuit on the calendar.
Last season he snatched third place from team-mate Dani Pedrosa on the final lap.
“I have always scored good results on this track, last year we had a very good race finishing on the podium,” said Dovi. “We head to Le Mans determined to repeat it. Our target is the podium and to achieve it we need to work well from the first day.”
Dovizioso starts this weekend joint fifth in the championship with Nicky Hayden and one point behind Hayden's factory Ducati team-mate Valentino Rossi.
Fellow Repsol riders Pedrosa and Casey Stoner have both taken a race win this season.