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Pedrosa maintains leading form in France

Pedrosa maintains leading form in France

Fresh from his win in the Spanish Grand Prix, Dani Pedrosa topped both Friday practice sessions at Le Mans ahead of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. The Repsol Honda Team rider led teammate Marc Marquez and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi as less than three tenths of a second covered the top five riders.

Heading into the afternoon session, there was a sense of urgency to seal top ten positions for Q2 Qualifying as rain is forecast to hit the iconic venue on Saturday. Pedrosa led with 1’34.035 as the top eight riders of the afternoon beat the leading lap time of the morning period. Behind Marquez and Rossi, Yamaha’s world champion Jorge Lorenzo and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl completed the top five.

Cal Crutchlow led the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 charge from sixth position as teammate Bradley Smith took a pair of almost identical trips through the Dunlop gravel trap across the opening couple of sessions. There was a worse moment for Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who ended the day in 12th place after suffering an accident on the exit of Raccordement, the final corner of the lap. On the Ignite Pramac Racing bike, Michele Pirro is standing in for the recovering Ben Spies, while Karel Abraham is back in action for Cardion AB Motoracing.

The top ten was rounded out by Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden plus GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro - the leading CRT runner. Teammate and home rider Randy de Puniet ended the day 13th quickest. Came IodaRacing have switched from a chiefly white to black livery, whereas NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti experimented with a new air in-take on his FTR Kawasaki.

If third practice eventually takes place amid dry conditions, the riders will have one final chance to confirm a guaranteed Q2 position by finishing in the overall top ten from across the opening trio of practice periods. Should they fail to do this, another chance will come as the top two riders from Q1 will join the top 12 shootout for pole. Saturday’s FP3 session starts at 9:55am local time (GMT +2).


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