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Pedrosa on top of first Le Mans practice

Pedrosa on top of first Le Mans practice

Jerez race winner Dani Pedrosa has maintained his form by topping Friday’s first practice session for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. In completely dry conditions, the Repsol Honda Team rider led Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

Lapping in 1’34.645 at the iconic Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix circuit, Pedrosa edged out world champion Lorenzo by just four hundredths of a second, with Rossi a further two tenths adrift. As planned, Lorenzo used Yamaha’s new spec chassis and Rossi the older one. Nicky Hayden was fourth on the leading Ducati Team bike - less than half a tenth slower than Rossi - as teammate Andrea Dovizioso completed the top five.

A problem-free morning for Cal Crutchlow saw the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man into sixth position, narrowly beating Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez who is the sole championship leader following his last-corner touch with Lorenzo in Spain. This morning’s top ten was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera as the leading CRT runner. Both Bautista and Barbera ran with new front springs.

En route to 15th spot, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith escaped a trip through the gravel at Dunlop, whereas Michele Pirro - substituting for the recovering Ben Spies at Ignite Pramac Racing - coasted back to the pits with a technical problem. In 21st place, Karel Abraham was returning for Cardion AB Motoracing, having been hurt in a Texas crash and requiring seven screws and a plate in his right shoulder.

As the best lap times from practice decide which riders head directly in Q2 Qualifying, this afternoon’s second session will be critical as a 70% chance of rain is predicted for tomorrow. The action resumes at 2:05pm local time (GMT +2).


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