The MotoGP™ riders were out on track for FP3 at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France this morning, and what a session it turned out to be. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) went quickest on his final run to set the circuit lap record, his 1:31.619 was 0.155 quicker than second place Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who crashed at Turn 2 in the session. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was third, 0.191 behind his teammate ahead of qualifying.
The top five riders in the session all went under the old circuit lap record, with Frenchman Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) right in the mix in fourth. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) made sure he went straight into Q2, finishing 5th in FP3, but he was behind teammate Andrea Dovizioso on the combined times – the Italian was the only rider in the top 13 who failed to improve his lap time this morning.
After topping the session in the early stages, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) will have to go through Q1 if he’s to fight for his second consecutive pole position, Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) the man to get into the top ten ahead of the Brit right at the end of the session.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing), Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, Thomas Luthi (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) - who went to the medical centre for a check up - all crashed in FP3.
With the field so close, and big names having to set a time in Q1, the battle for pole looks set to be a corker. See the action unfold when qualifying for the premier class begins at 14:10 local time (GMT +2).