French GP, Le Mans: Friday MotoGP roundup

 In MotoGP, News


In the morning session it was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who led the way with a 1’34.042, the Spaniard showing well after a fruitful test in Jerez. His time wouldn’t stand for long as riders were immediately pushing in the second session.

Free Practice 2 for the MotoGP™ World Championship began with Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) setting a string of fast laps. Clouds began to gather overhead as the session got underway, the rain fortunately holding off and allowing all the riders to improve their times. Results from Free Practice 2 could be vital for passage into Q2 as the morning sessions in Le Mans are often quite cool.

After his blazing start to the session, it came as little surprise that Jorge Lorenzo concluded Free Practice 2, and the day as a whole, as the fastest rider. Lorenzo’s fastest time, a 1’32.830, came towards the end of the session. The only rider in the 1’32s, Lorenzo leave the Le Mans circuit on Friday evening with a 0.339s advantage over Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team).

The Le Mans circuit has often seen Ducati riders perform well, Andrea Iannone continuing the tradition as he wrapped up Friday in second place on the combined timesheets. Iannone’s best time came on his final lap of the day, the problems of Jerez long gone for the Desmosedici GP.

Once again it was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who completed the top three, the final rider able to get within half a second of Lorenzo’s time. Marquez’s performance made it three different brands inside the top three, proving that a variety of styles are competitive at the French GP.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) achieved his first, and so far only, MotoGP™ front row start in Le Mans during his rookie campaign. After a troublesome year in 2015, the Spaniard is again performing well and concludes Friday at his team’s home race in fourth and as the leading Independent Team rider, ahead of Rossi on the factory bike.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the top five, making Ducati the only factory team with both their bikes inside the top five. The Italian was 0.744s back on Lorenzo’s time as he looks to maintain a run of five straight front row starts in France and shake his bad luck from the start of the year.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) rounded out the top ten.

While Lorenzo improved his time from FP1 by 1.2 seconds, Rossi was only able to improve by half a second and ended 1.1 seconds behind his teammate.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) concluded Friday in 11th on his MotoGP™ return after injuring his hand in both the Phillip Island test and the Qatar GP.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was the victim of a crash at Turn 13, jumping to his feet and jogging back into the pits for his second RC213V. It was a difficult day overall for Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) as he suffered a second crash, coming off at Turn 6 with less than five minutes of FP2 remaining.

On his final lap of the day, Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) crash at Turn 7, removing any chance he had of getting into the top ten.

The MotoGP™ World Championship is back on track at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday the seventh of may for the critical FP3 session, the last chance for riders to get into the top ten.


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