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Le Mans: Rivals impressed by Honda rideability
21 May 2013
By Stephen English
Jorge Lorenzo may have taken a dominant victory for Yamaha at the season-opening Qatar MotoGP, but Repsol Honda riders have now won the three events since - including Dani Pedrosa's wet victory at Le Mans.
After Sunday's French Grand Prix rival riders talked about how comfortable the Honda looked when being ridden at the limit.
The race began in fully wet conditions before drying in the second half of the race. The treacherous conditions made it very easy for any rider to make a mistake, with Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso profiting from Pedrosa's early errors.
After the race the Italian spoke about his fight with Pedrosa in the first half of the 28 lap race:
"Dani was faster than me," commented the Ducati rider. "He was able to brake much harder and turn faster than me in every corner, but he made a few mistakes and I was able to pass him. In braking it was easy to lose the rear and he made three mistakes."
Some suggested that the small errors may have been a consequence of the confidence Pedrosa felt, in being able to push his RCV right to the very limit in the slippery conditions.
"Today in the wet the Honda was very strong and Dani was a lot faster than us," said Valentino Rossi. "It looks like they can control the slide in the wet better than us. Dani made two or three mistakes but he was still able to win."
The ability to slide the bike with ease was key at Le Mans, with Pedrosa able to use this strength to exit turn five with extra speed and be in position to overtake at Garage Vert, the double right hander where Pedrosa finally took the lead for good.
Lorenzo meanwhile struggled throughout the race. The Spaniard suffered from a severe lack of rear grip that made it impossible for him to stay with the lead group. The reigning world champion is now 17 points adrift of Pedrosa in the championship.
When asked about the strength of the Honda, the Spaniard said:
"The Honda is in extremely good form and the riders, Dani is really focussed and doing a great job and Marquez being a rookie is doing an extremely good job without mistakes," said Lorenzo. "But the bike is working better than our bike at this moment."
After a slow start, Marquez rode through the field from eighth to third.
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