Tech 3 KTM riders Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona head into round five of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship at Le Mans in a lowly 19th and 23rd in the standings. 

But while it’s been a tough start to the season for both satellite riders, Petrucci at least will feel this weekend could be a breakthrough for a couple of reasons. 

Petrucci had only one top five finish during the whole of 2020 with Ducati, but that top five was a substantial one as it was victory at the French Grand Prix in wet conditions. 

Due to the Italian’s taller frame compared to many on the grid, getting tyres into their optimal working condition in the wet is much easier as he’s demonstrated with other standout wet weather performances like Misano 2017, where he took second behind Marc Marquez

But whether it’s wet or dry, Le Mans has been a happy hunting ground for Petrucci. Along with last year’s victory, Petrucci also had third and second place finishes in 2019 and 2018 respectively. 

So heading into this weekend it’s no surprise the 30 year-old is excited: "I’m very happy to return to Le Mans. This place always creates beautiful memories for me, it’s a track that I like a lot. In the last years. 

"I have been on the podium there, last year I won the race. First of all, it’s the home race of my team and we need all our strength to fight for the top positions. 

"I imagine Le Mans is a good opportunity to make progress and fight closer to the front. I really can’t wait to be on my bike again at one of my favorite circuits!"

The early weather forecast for Sunday’s race says rain is on the cards which could be just what Petrucci wants.

For Lecuona it’s been somewhat of a step back this season. The Spanish rider seemed to make strides forward as the 2020 season went on, often challenging for points, and although KTM have struggled across their four bikes so far in 2021, pinpointing his struggles has been a mystery somewhat. 

Lecuona is one of four riders to have endured arm pump issues so far in 2021, so a lingering effect from that could be in play, however, it’s fair to wonder whether the 21 year-old’s seat will be in jeopardy come next season if form doesn’t pick up. 

"I think I need to continue to work with the team. I have the feeling, I improved a lot in Jerez, also on Monday after the Grand Prix I learned a lot together with my crew, especially about the tyres," said Lecuona. 

"We should just try to keep this line, improving our performance and I have a good feeling that in Le Mans I can be back on my usual level. 

"The aim is to get better and better, fight for the points and maybe even for the top 10."