A Repsol generated interview with five-time 250GP race winner and MotoGP podium finisher Randy de Puniet, now working in the paddock with French Eurosport…

Q: How did you see the MotoGP race at Le Mans?

Randy de Puniet: “My impression is that today, Marc Márquez is stronger than everyone else. Once again, he played a little with his rivals. In the race we saw that Johann [Zarco] was very motivated to win and made a mistake through being too hasty. It’s easy to say now, as an outside observer, ‘maybe I should have waited a few more laps, because if I had overtaken him, maybe I would have had a good chance to try to open a gap from Marc.’ We also had a nice surprise from Petrucci, who rode a very good race, and Valentino’s [Rossi] podium. Starting from the third row, he showed that when he wants things to work, he manages to get out of difficult situations.”

Q: It was the grand prix with the most crashes so far this season, and that was despite the fact that surprisingly it didn’t rain this year. What do you think the crashes were down to?

Randy de Puniet: “One of the reasons is that there are not many left-hand corners, so that side of the tyre cools faster. In addition, this year the weather was a little tricky, because it was sunny but the wind was quite chilly and made the temperature drop on one side of the tyre. That’s also why we saw crashes when riders were coming out of the pits, or when they were going a little slower than normal.”

Q: Did you watch the MotoGP riders from trackside? What stands out to you about the main contenders?

Randy de Puniet: “No I didn’t. As a commentator, I can no longer go trackside, but I follow them closely. Márquez is an incredible rider and has a style of his own that allows him to ride with practically his whole body touching the ground. He seems to always force a loss of grip with the front wheel in order to understand where the limit is. That is impressive. I love it, because you see how he has fun and watching him on track is a pleasure.

"Viñales is also a very good rider. I like him a lot and last year I thought he would become World Champion, but maybe psychologically he’s struggling a little more. When everything works well, he can be a rival to Marc, but when the problems appear, it is harder for him to calm down and find his way. He’s a bit like Jorge Lorenzo, who went through the same thing.

"Dovizioso is a very complete rider who doesn’t make mistakes, and last year he surprised me, because he was fighting for victories with Marc. He showed a new side to him and I think this year he is even stronger, but he has lacked luck and has dropped out of the title fight a bit.”

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CrashTV: 

Q: A year ago, Marc left France with a 27 point disadvantage after five rounds, and after Mugello it got to 37 points, but in the end he managed to proclaim himself champion. Do you think that this year we could see a turnaround like in 2017?

Randy de Puniet: “No, I don’t think so. Unless there is an injury or something that penalises him, he has a big cushion. We saw that in Argentina, where he was able to ride a second faster than his rivals. That’s taking into account that this year the level of competition is very high, with many riders capable of riding at a very similar pace.”

Q: Mugello is a very different track to Le Mans and Jerez. what do you think will happen at this GP?

Randy de Puniet: “In theory the Ducati will not be too bad, but I imagine that Marc, at a circuit where he is normally not a favourite, will win the race. You get the impression that he can win every race until the end of the season.”

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