Yamaha believes it will be in much better shape for the rest of the 2011 MotoGP season after a breakthrough in last week's Estoril test.
Although Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship standings and won in the damp at Jerez, on pure pace he has not been able to match the Hondas so far this year, and was overhauled by Dani Pedrosa in the closing stages of the most recent race at Estoril. But team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said changes to the bike in testing would enable Lorenzo to get back to a more comfortable riding style from this weekend's Le Mans event.
"We had a fantastic test in Estoril, everybody was surprised with the good weather so we had the opportunity to try many things," Zeelenberg said. "Hopefully, we've found our way back from the test to an improved setting so Jorge can go back to his old riding style of fast corner entry which he was missing a little for the first three races. We've given that back to him so we're confident he can perform well in France and for the rest of the season."
Yamaha is chasing a fourth straight French GP victory, with the last two having gone to Lorenzo, so Zeelenberg expects both the Spaniard and his teammate Ben Spies to show strong form.
"Le Mans is a Yamaha track, it works well for us so it's also a great place for Ben to come back and aim for the podium," said Zeelenberg.
Lorenzo is keeping his goals modest, however, saying his priority is to be in front by his next home race at Barcelona two weeks later.
"We are on the top, but we should be focused on getting as many points as possible," he said. "Our main goal is the podium, our fourth podium, and to be in front in Montmelo."