In front of his home fans
The demanding Le Mans track brings the MotoGP championship back to Europe in what is, for Frenchman de Puniet, his home race, where he will hope to improve on the two eighth places which represent his highest placements of the season so far.
will also be hoping to conquer the demons that saw him pushed off the track in last year's race: a hugely disappointing result, especially after his strong performance in qualifying which saw him start from fourth position on the grid.
With an emphasis on tight, first-gear corners and late braking, Le Mans represents a different sort of challenge after the long straights of China's Shanghai circuit. However, with the enthusiastic support of a home crowd, further improvements to the Ninja ZX-RR and his confidence-inspiring Bridgestone tyres, Randy aims to put in a great performance at the track, 200km south west of Paris.
“I am really excited about racing in Le Mans again this weekend. With its stop and go nature, it's not the most suitable track for my riding style but I have always been fast there and racing in front of my home crowd always gives me a boost. I finished on the podium there in my last four years in 250cc, although I don't have such good memories of last year's race, my first in MotoGP at home. I qualified fourth, my best grid position so far in MotoGP, and I was feeling really positive but it didn't last long as my race ended at the first corner when Rossi crashed into me...”, remembered De Puniet.
“ I hope nothing like that happens this time! I'm going to France with a lot of confidence after the improvements Kawasaki have made in the last two races, and the Bridgestone tyres' performance, which enabled me to get my best MotoGP results so far. We are working hard and I am sure that this weekend will see another step forward in the development of the Ninja ZX-RR. I will do my utmost, as I always do, to get my best MotoGP result in front of all my home fans."
In Olivier's absence, he will be the only French factory rider on the grid for the 28-lap race.