“Sylvain was exceptional”
In front of the home crowd of the Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team, the Grand Prix of France was a truly momentous affair as Makoto Tamada and Sylvain Guintoli both scored top ten results as they finished ninth and tenth respectively raising the bar in
what was another stellar performance for the team.
Both Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 riders rose to the wet weather circumstances with Sylvain creating his own piece of personal history as he overtook seven times world champion Valentino Rossi to lead a MotoGP for the first time.
Unfortunately he was caught out by the worsening conditions as he tried to extend his lead causing him to crash but quickly remounted. Makoto was able to stay out a few more laps on slicks before his enforced pit-stop. He rode a steady and sensible race in the atrocious conditions that saw many other riders crashing out also attain his best result of the season so far. The scene had been set for a magnificent weekend during qualifying when Sylvain was on top of the time sheets with 10 minutes to go, finally missing the top spot by just 0.8 of a second.
This weekend has given the team a tremendous boost with the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks time but in the meantime will remain at Le Mans for two days of testing to further improve performance of the Dunlop tyres and Yamaha machines.
Makoto Tamada - position 9th :
“That was a very different race. I am happy to finish but I am not overly happy because I had the potential to go faster but I have no complaint with anything as we raced in such severe conditions. We also learnt many things in this race as when it was just a little bit wet I lost too much time and it was hard to decide at what time was best to come in When it became very wet the lap times became a lot better and I felt very comfortable and in those conditions we had a lot of grip with the Dunlop tyres. Now we are here to test for a couple of days so it is important for us to work a lot on the bad points we have when the track is not dry but not all wet.
This is a good result for the team and I know now that we are making many improvements that will help us for the rest of the year.”
Sylvain Guintoli - position 10th:
“That was a pretty funny race but I am extremely happy with the entire weekend. This is something special for me to do what I did in front of my home crowd with my good qualifying and the race. I got a very bad start as I wheelied off the line. I felt very confident passing everybody as I was trying to find a rhythm and the next thing I know I am in front with no one to chase. When I was in front for that one lap I didn't think about it, I just went for it. I was very surprised when the rear came around and made me crash as it didn't seem that wet. If I hadn't crashed I would have stayed out for a few more laps as it was not really wet enough to change bike. 10th is my best result so I have to be very happy even with a crash but the entire weekend has been brilliant. We can take a lot out of this weekend as we got rid of any doubts about how competitive we can be. I am now very confident with the bike and my riding and I am looking forward to Mugello to continue my progress.”
Herve Poncharal - Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team Manager
“This has been a very weird French Grand Prix. We had a really good qualifying session and a strong warm-up this morning. It was an incredible start to the race. Sylvain was exceptional as he said to me before the start that it would be good to lead for just one lap and he did it! It didn't look too good for him at the start as he was 13th at the first split but he fought his way through. When I saw the rain coming harder I thought it wasn't looking too good but we were ready for a crash and he was prepared to take the chance. Everyone around the track enjoyed seeing Sylvain in front and after he crashed he showed very good fighting spirit to pick the bike up and continue. I would also like to thank Makoto as he showed great fighting spirit too to finish in 9th place and to have our two riders in the top ten is a sensational result. This weekend has been a huge step forward for the team and I think now we can be fighting for top ten finishes at every race. We have two days to test more things here at Le Mans and feel that we can make some more steps before the next race in Italy.”