Reale Avintia Racing riders had mixed fortunes today at the French Grand Prix on the legendary Le Mans circuit. Loris Baz finished his home race in a fantastic ninth place after a really tough race in which only 15 of 23 MotoGP riders crossed the chequered flag. The local hero knew before the start that it would be crucial to finish the race today and even though he didn’t find a solution for the issues with the front end feeling on his Ducati Desmosedici GP15, he got the best out of his package to achieve a top 10 finish.
Following a successful warm-up session, Hector Barbera did a great start from the seventh row of the grid, with the Reale Avintia Spanish rider gaining several places. He was in 15th place after three laps, but his Ducati stopped at the beginning of lap four due to a mechanical issue. But despite this bad luck, the most important thing today is that the feeling with the front end definitely has improved.
Barbera and Baz will now head to Barcelona for a two-day test, where they will work with the new front tyres that Michelin will include in their allocation from the next race. They will also concentrate on refining their Ducati’s set-up in order to get strong ahead of Mugello, one of the most favourable tracks for the Italian bikes.
“We knew before the start that the key today was to bring the bike back to the garage. We were not able to solve the front end issues during the warm-up. But I made a good start and I tried to keep the best possible pace without making mistakes. I lost some time at the beginning trying to overtake Pol (Espargaro) because he was slower than me, but he was strong on the brakes and the KTM is quite good in acceleration. Once I passed him, I concentrated on keeping my pace and I was able to catch Iannone. We overtook each other several times and at the last pass, we both went wide. I’m happy with these seven points because we scored them on a circuit that is difficult for us. I leave this race satisfied; you can always do better, but today it was important to finish the race and score points.”
“We were unlucky today. We think that something broke inside the engine. I only was able to complete three laps, so it is hard to get conclusions from this race. On the bright side, I was a little bit more aggressive at the start and I was able to gain some places, which is something we can’t do very often. After that I could pass some more riders, but in the fourth lap my engine stopped on the main straight. I also confirmed during the warm-up and during the few laps in the race that my feeling in dry conditions is much better now. During the test at Jerez we made a big step and now I can push the front. It’s just a shame that the results don’t reflect our progress yet. Now we head to Barcelona where I hope to improve my feeling with the front even more and where I want to get ready for Mugello.”