MotoGP 2017 – Round Five – Le Mans – Grand Prix de France
Jack Miller’s time from FP1 on Friday good enough to top day one as conditions worsen in FP2
FP1 at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France started wet and was eventually just dry enough for slicks for those who dared – and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) did, as the Queenslander set a blistering 1:37.467 to top the session. With conditions worsening in FP2, the Aussie remains top on combined times and fastest on Friday in another show of mastery in tricky conditions.
Jack Miller – P1
“I am really happy to finish the first day here in Le Mans on top of the timesheets. It was the perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of Jerez and I’m happy because I was fast in all different kinds of conditions. This afternoon was another positive session after the boost of setting the fastest time in FP1. I used the same set of tyres throughout the whole of FP2 and did 24 laps on the Michelin wets and had good pace throughout. The tread did get a little bit low and I was aquaplaning a bit in the fast corners, so I decided to end the session a bit early. I’m sure I could have gone faster on a fresh set of rain tyres like some of the others did but didn’t really feel the need after I got that banker lap in this morning.”
Ramon Aurin – Jack Miller Chief Engineer
“Today was very positive and it wasn’t a surprise to see Jack fastest this morning because he is very strong and fast in mixed conditions. He was the first to switch to slicks and once he got the right temperature into the tyres he could set an impressive pace, even though we know it was far away from the times we can expect to see. It is the same conditions for everybody though and it is always a good boost to be fastest. We didn’t change tyres in the rain this afternoon and had we done so I’m sure he could have improved. We did a wet weather test for Michelin in Valencia last week and that helped a little to work on our settings for these conditions.”
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was second quickest in FP1 and again in FP2, taking P2 on the timesheets after action ended ahead of home hero and rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Marc Marquez – P2
“It’s positive to have started well today, as here in Le Mans it’s important to be ready for any kind of conditions. This morning there were mixed conditions with the track drying toward the end, allowing us to do the last exit on slicks. The feeling was good already, but the most important thing was to be able to be fast in the full wet in FP2. We worked a bit on the rain settings and in our second run I started to feel really good on the bike. We’ll see how the conditions are tomorrow; it looks like it will be dry and I hope that’s actually the case because it seems that the race also will be a dry one and it will be important to set up the bike well. The new surface is incredible, at least from what we could see in the wet. The grip is very good and even if it’s not easy to put temperature in the tyres, when you do get it you can be really fast.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) completed the top four overall, despite a slightly more difficult FP2 down in P13.
Loris Baz was another home stunner for Reale Avintia Racing to complete the top five, and the Frenchman was twelfth in the second session – then just ahead of Crutchlow.
Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was another flying the Independent Team flag, taking P6 on combined timings.
Bradley Smith took his first top ten for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in an impressive P7 in FP1 and overall on Friday, just ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).
Alvaro Bautista was a top ten presence in both sessions – P9 in FP1 and P6 in FP2 – ending Friday in ninth. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completed the top ten ahead of Andrea Iannone. The ‘Maniac’ was fifth in the afternoon but ended the day in eleventh, just ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Jonas Folger.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was one of only two riders to improve his laptime despite worsened weather in FP2, and the Italian topped the timesheets in the second session to take P13 overall – ahead of Jerez winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) put on an impressive display in FP2 and was third, the Italian completing the top fifteen overall just ahead of teammate and fellow FP2 frontrunner Scott Redding. Redding joined ‘DesmoDovi’ as the other rider to improve in the more difficult conditions.
Despite the difficult conditions, there was only one incident as Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) didn’t quite stop before the gravel trap – with early reports on the new track surface at the venue seemingly holding true.
Next is FP3 and the fight for automatic entry to Q2 qualifying, with that practice beginning at 9:55am (GMT +2). Qualifying sessions begin with Q1 at 14:10.
Friday Combined Practice Times – MotoGP 2017 – Round Five – Le Mans
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’37.467
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1.288
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1.781
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 2.140
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing 2.960
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 3.061
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 3.350
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 3.427
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 3.557
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 3.840
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 4.095
- FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 4.177
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 4.206
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 4.387
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing 4.420
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 4.458
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team 4.480
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 4.627
- LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 4.776
- GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Team Suzuki Ecstar 5.424
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 5.486
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 5.647
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6.052
Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) quickest on Moto2 combined times as weather worsens
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) topped combined times on Day 1 in France, as the Italian led a trio of his compatriots to lock out the top four: Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team). The top two were split by only 0.011, with weather then worsening in the afternoon to leave them unchallenged.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completed the top five overall despite a more difficult FP2 down the timesheets, ahead of Tech 3 Racing’s Xavi Vierge. Vierge was one of those to remain a key presence in wet or dry.
Dominique Aegerter was first Suter in P7 for Kiefer Racing, ahead of Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and compatriot Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team). Marini was also quick in the rain of FP2.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the fastest in the wet on a last lap dash, and completed the top ten on Day 1 from his time in FP1. The early hero of FP2 was Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team) and the Colombian was P11 on combined times, ahead of Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) – with the Malaysian another of those to have proved their wet weather prowess in the second session.
Championship hopeful Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) had a difficult first day in France in P17, but has a stunning record at the circuit to bounce back on Saturday. Moto2™ begin qualifying at 15:05 (GMT +2).
Moto2 Friday Combined Practice Times – Le Mans 2017
Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin tops the timesheets on a drenched day of track time for Moto3 at Le Mans
Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) topped wet Friday practice at Le Mans for the French GP, setting the best lap in FP1 and weather conditions worsening slightly by the afternoon for the Malaysian to keep his dominion at the top – despite a crash in FP2.
It was close amongst the fastest, however, with Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Niccolo Antonelli only 0.040 off Norrodin and Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) only another 0.004 back to complete the top three.
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) was fourth fastest overall, with Marco Bezzechi putting in an impressive showing for CIP to lock out the top five on Mahindra machinery. Rodrigo then suffered a crash in FP2, with the Argentine rider then sadly diagnosed with his second collarbone fracture of the season and declared unfit.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) was sixth, ahead of another Mahindra in the form of Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Aspar Mahindra Moto3) – and a solid return for 2015 Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Kent, who returns to the fray as a wildcard, was P8 overall and second in FP2 despite a crash.
Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was behind his new teammate in P9, with Jerez winner Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completing the top ten.
Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) was eleventh, ahead of Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Tony Arbolino (SIC58 Squadra Corse), John McPhee (British Talent Team) and Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint).
Some of those further down the timesheets in FP1 mastered the conditions in FP2 but didn’t move up on combined times, with Del Conca Gresini Moto3 duo Jorge Martin and Fabio Di Giannantonio two of the biggest movers from session to session – the Spaniard was fastest in the afternoon, with ‘Diggia’ in the top five despite both riders ending the day just inside the top twenty on combined times.