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MT 8 May 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2016 53 THE atmosphere in Le Mans was tense as the MotoGP™ World Championship headed out of the pits, the packed stands cheering as the riders filtered out. Jorge Loren- zo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was immediately on the pace, his first flying lap already the fastest time of the weekend. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) suffered an early crash at Turn 4 with just over eight minutes of the session remaining. He was unable to remount and quickly got back to the pits for his second ma- chine. Fortunately for Pedrosa his experienced team were immediate- ly ready with his second bike. As the final runs of the day began, Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) fell while on his out lap. The Italian im- mediately sprinted back to the pits and jumped onto his second Des- mosedici GP, not even waiting to catch his breath. Meanwhile Jorge Lorenzo im- proved his time, setting the first ever 1'31 around Le Mans with a 1'31.975 and giving Michelin their first record since returning to the World Championship. This is also Lorenzo's first ever premier class pole position in Le Mans. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) will start second, his fifth front row start of the season. His 1'32.416 was 0.441s back on Loren- zo's time, the Yamaha having a de- cent advantage over a single flying lap but Lorenzo himself admitted it won't be the pace for the race. Even with the fall, Andrea Ian- none (Ducati Team) was able to lock down third on the grid. His 1'32.469 came from his third lap of the session, unable to improve after his crash. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will start Sunday's French GP in fourth and as the leading In- dependent Team rider. Behind the Spaniard will be Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) as Ducati were once again the only factory team with two bikes inside the top five. Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) achieved his best Qualify- ing result of the year with sixth while Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ended seventh. This is his worst grid position since Rossi started last in Valencia and his first time starting on the third row since the Australian GP in 2015. Maverick Viñales (Team Su- zuki Ecstar), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten. Like Pedrosa and Iannone, Petrucci suffered a fall during the session. Due to his crash, Pedrosa will start the French GP down in 11th after a promising start to the week- end when he topped Free Practice 1. Home rider Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) had a difficult day, strug- gling in Q1 and subsequently start- ing last on the grid for his home round. Sport MOTOGP FORMULA 1 Lorenzo destroys record to take first Le Mans MotoGP pole Having never stepped outside the top two all weekend, Jorge Lorenzo set a new pole record ahead of Marquez and Iannone 2016 French MotoGP Grand Prix Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. J. Lorenzo Yamaha 01:31.975 7 2. M. Marquez Repsol Honda 01:32.416 9 3. A. Iannone Ducati 01:32.469 6 4. P. Espargaro Tech 3 01:32.502 8 5. A. Dovizioso Ducati 01:32.587 8 6. B. Smith Tech 3 01:32.820 8 7. V. Rossi Yamaha 01:32.829 8 8. M. Vinales Suzuki 01:32.933 8 9. C. Crutchlow LCR 01:32.963 7 10. D. Petrucci Pramac 01:33.102 7 11. D. Pedrosa Repsol Honda 01:33.109 7 12. A. Espargaro Suzuki 01:33.115 7 Jorge Lorenzo Hamilton urges fans to 'trust' Mercedes LEWIS Hamilton has urged his fans to "trust" Mercedes moving forward, in the wake of suggestions that his championship battle with team-mate Nico Rosberg is being sabotaged. Mercedes has faced criticism on social media in recent weeks, with Rosberg taking full advantage of technical problems on Hamilton's car to open up a comfortable title advantage. Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hit out at the "lunatics" ped- dling conspiracy theories last time out in Russia, before the outfit wrote a sizeable letter in a bid to silence them. Hamilton has now taken to social media to urge his own fans to sup- port the team. "I want you to know how grateful I am for all of your support," Hamil- ton's message began. "I'd like to ask that you please trust in my team, as I do. This is my fam- ily. These guys have been the great- est, hardest working people for me, and that is why I am now 3x World Champion. "Please don't put any more thought into my team doing anything unjust towards me, and understand that it would be in no one's best interest for that to be the case. "We've had the best three years together, and whilst it's not going to plan right now, all will unfold in its own time. "I trust these guys 1000 per cent and my mechanics are incredible, the best in the business. I respect them so please do the same. They are the guys that are going to make winning this championship possi- ble." Hamilton beat Rosberg to the championship crown in 2014 and 2015. Lewis Hamilton celebrating with team McLaren

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