Márquez, Mir and the 500cc legacy at Le Mans


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The pilots Estrella Galicia 0,0, Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team), Álex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) and Álex Márquez (LCR Honda Castrol) are back on track next weekend for the French Grand Prix at the Bugatti Le Mans circuit, the fifth round of the season in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.

The French Grand Prix of 500cc and MotoGP has been contested since 1951 up to 8 different circuits: Albi, Rouen, Reims, Clermont Ferrand, Le Mans, Paul Ricard, Nogaro and Magny Cours.

The Bugatti layout Le Mans first hosted the premier class of the World Championship in 1969 and since then it has done so as the French Grand Prix on 33 occasions and only once, in 1991, as the Vitesse Du Mans Grand Prix, replacing the Brazilian Grand Prix at that time.

Since the beginning of the MotoGP era in 2002, Spanish riders have won 12 times at Le Mans. Among those still active, the three victories of Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) in 2014, 2018 and 2019 stand out.

The first MotoGP free practice will begin next Friday at 09:55, with the race scheduled for Sunday at 14:00.

Joan Mir4th in the World Championship with 49 points

The MotoGP champion in the last race in Jerez achieved a valuable 5th position that earned him fourth in the provisional championship, just 17 points behind the first classified. Last year at Le Mans he did not achieve a great result in the rain, but he did a race in clear recovery that took him from the penultimate to the eleventh final position.

Mir will seek to repeat the feats of Chris Vermeulen, who in 2007 gave Suzuki its first MotoGP victory precisely at Le Mans, or Kevin Schwantz, who in the 1990s won twice with the Suzuki RGV500 with a two-stroke engine. .

Joan Mir statistics at Le Mans

First GP: 2016 (Moto3 – KTM)

First podium: 2017 (Moto3 – Honda)

First win: 2017 (Moto3 – Honda)

Wins: 1

Podiums: 2 (Moto3 and Moto2)

Pole Positions: –

“Kevin Schwantz achieved two great victories at Le Mans in 1990 and 1991 over the RGV 500 with a two-stroke engine. Kevin is one of my idols and, although I was not born yet, I have seen videos of him and his driving was spectacular. I would have liked to test those bikes, without a doubt, but evolution has brought us to the current situation where the bikes have more help, but are much faster and more effective. Every era is different and they are all good. There are no better or worse times, just different.

Marc Márquez15th in the World Championship with 16 points

Marc Márquez arrives at Le Mans after finishing 9th two weeks ago at Jerez; the pilot’s second race after his long recovery. That progress led him to reduce his distance from the winner compared to his first race just a month ago in Portugal. The Repsol Honda rider was unable to compete at Le Mans last year, although in his previous participation in 2019 he took pole position and victory. Marc Márquez has given his opinion about testing one of the legendary 500s, where at Le Mans precisely another great Honda rider, Mick Doohan, achieved victory in 1994 and 1995.

Marc Márquez statistics at Le Mans

First GP: 2008 (125 – KTM)

First podium: 2010 (125 – Derby)

First win: 2011 (Moto2 – Suter)

Wins: 4 (Moto2 and MotoGP)

Podiums: 6 (125, Moto2 and MotoGP)

Pole Positions: 6 (125, Moto2 and MotoGP)

“Driving a Honda NSR 500, for example the one from Doohan or Crivillé, would be very difficult at first. It would be very physical; All the pilots of the contemporary era have already grown up with electronics, which helps, but also makes things difficult depending on the case. But it would be nice to do an ‘old school’ type race with older bikes because surely the fan would like it. Le Mans is traditionally a circuit where there is a lot of braking and where you have to be very attentive to the weather, as it can rain in any practice session. To go fast, you can make a difference in the whole part of the end of the straight and all the part before the finish line ».

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