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Smith sets surprising pace on the first day of #FrenchGP

Smith sets surprising pace on the first day of #FrenchGP

The British rider puts in the best time of the day during MotoGP™ Free Practice.

The surprise of the day at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France came from Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who was fastest in FP2 with a 1'33.179 lap.

While all the riders improved on their morning times in FP2, Smith seemed to be inspired - either by the fact that it was the home race for his French team, or by the equally impressive performance of his compatriot Danny Kent in Moto3™.

British fans have dreamed of a day dominated by Brit riders and this was the closest we have come in a while, only missing Sam Lowes at the top of the time sheets in Moto2™.

After a great weekend in Jerez, Jorge Lorenzo achieved the second best time after a consistently fast session, with Andrea Dovizioso third. The Italian had been first in FP1, perhaps trying to set the stage for Ducati victory at Le Mans - something that has never happened before.

Cal Crutchlow (CWM-LCR Honda) was fourth in both sessions of the day, while in fifth position on the combined times list was MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez, who spent the morning trying different solutions such as the swingarm which premiered at the recent test at Jerez. At the beginning of the session he suffered an electrical problem that forced him to walk back to the pits.

The current championship leader Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), ended in sixth place, only one place above the newly-returned Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who makes a comeback this weekend after his arm pump problems forced a temporary withdrawal since the first race of the year in Qatar.

Pol Espargaró (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and his brother Aleix (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ended the day together, in eighth and ninth positions respectively. Pol had a great weekend at Le Mans last year as a rookie, finishing the race in fourth. That combined with the fact that his team mate Smith was fastest today and that this is the local race for his team, means it would not be shocking to see Pol put on a good show on Sunday.

Pol’s brother Aleix was experimenting with different tyre compounds on his GSX-RR during Free Practice. He ended the day ninth and continues the difficult task of racing an all-new machine, testing and setting up his bike for the first time for almost every circuit in the 2015 season.

The second official Ducati Team rider, Andrea Iannone, finished in a credible eleventh. The rider returned to action this week after dislocating his left shoulder in a scheduled test at Mugello.

Click here for the full combined results.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2015, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, FP2, Jorge Lorenzo, Bradley Smith, Andrea Dovizioso, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Ducati Team

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