Kawasaki rider Olivier Jacque is set for a popular home-coming at Le Mans this weekend for the French Grand Prix, the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Following his magical wet weather ride into second place in last week's Chinese Grand Prix, Jacque has ensured that he will be the focus of attention at his home race this weekend.

The China result was the best ever in the elite class of GP racing for both Jacque and the factory Kawasaki team. It also delivered Bridgestone's first wet tyre podium finish since their entry into MotoGP.

It is now two years since Jacque raced at Le Mans and he anticipates an 'incredible atmosphere' for the French Grand Prix. In 2003 Jacque finished fourth in this race.

Jacque will again race alongside Kawasaki's number one rider Shinya Nakano, as the temporary replacement for the injured Alex Hofmann.

But despite his fairytale comeback in Shanghai, Jacque is under no illusions about the task he faces at Le Mans. The highly competitive nature of MotoGP ensures that last week's glory will count for little once the race starts in France.

The stop-and-go layout of the 4.18 km Le Mans circuit, with its emphasis on hard braking and sharp acceleration, will be a very different challenge to that faced in China.

Since his superb performance in Shanghai, Jacque has been flat out in the build-up to Le Mans.

After returning to his London home Jacque has been busy with both media interviews and his training schedule. He returned to France earlier this week to conduct a rider training course at the Dijon circuit, before travelling to Le Mans to continue preparations for his home GP.

After the disappointment of his early retirement from the China race, Nakano is focused on delivering another polished performance at Le Mans.

The French Grand Prix is one of Nakano's favourite races, as the popular Japanese rider lived in France when he raced for the Tech3 squad.

Nakano expects that the increasingly competitive performance of the Ninja ZX-RR will provide an opportunity for him to regain his place in the top six of the championship points.

Shinya Nakano: # 56
"Le Mans is a very different type of circuit, acceleration and braking stability are very important because of the stop-go layout. In the past it has not been ideal for Kawasaki, but with our new engine and the latest electronic parts for the fuel injection I expect the Ninja ZX-RR will be much more competitive. This year our chassis is more stable at the rear, with better traction under acceleration and improved balance, which will help us at Le Mans; as will the latest generation of Bridgestone tyres. I'm always happy to be at this race because I lived in the south of France for four years, I have a good feeling here and I have some friends coming to the race."

Olivier Jacque: #19
"It is a long time since I have raced at Le Mans and there are always high expectations for the French riders, I'm sure the atmosphere will be incredible. But I'm not feeling stressed or under pressure. In fact, I'm appreciating the support from the fans and I'm really comfortable to be racing in my home Grand Prix; for sure it will be a big party. After my 'magic' race in Shanghai I'm not sure what to expect at Le Mans, it is difficult for me to predict the performance of the Ninja ZX-RR at this track because I still don't have a lot of experience on the bike. But I'm aiming to be very competitive; the support of the Kawasaki team is giving me a lot of confidence, as are the Bridgestone tyres, which are very impressive both in the dry and wet, as we saw in China."

Source: Kawasaki MotoGP

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