Red Bull KTM Ajo's Raul Fernandez took full advantage of the improved conditions at the SHARK Helmets French Grand Prix by setting the fastest lap of the weekend in Moto3™ to set the pace heading into qualifying. A distinct change to Friday's grey and miserable weather, the sun was now beating down on the Le Mans circuit, despite the temperature still being fairly cold.
The Spaniard's final lap of the session was a 1:42.153 and that was good enough to take top spot by 0.045 of a second from SKY Racing Team VR46's Celestino Vietti. Continuing his fine form after sitting second in the combined standings on Friday is Sterilgarda Max Racing Team's Romano Fenati, who sits third overall heading into qualifying.
Making it four Italians inside the top five is both Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), who sit fourth and fifth respectively in a top five split by four tenths of a second. Gaviota Aspar Team's Albert Arenas will be keen to wrestle back control of the World Championship this weekend and heads into qualifyinf sixth on the combined timesheets.
Red Bull KTM Tech3's Ayumu Sasaki is seventh and only 0.069 seconds clear of John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in eighth. Completing the top ten on Saturday morning is Leopard Racing's Jaume Masia and Estrella Galicia 0,0's Sergio Garcia. Two key men clinched the final two spots in Q2 later on Saturday, with CIP Green Power's Darryn Binder, victor last time out in Barcelona, sitting 13th and Moto3™ World Championship leader Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) jumping up to 14th with his last lap of the session.
Top 10 combined:
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:42.153
2. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.045
3. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.278
4. Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.392
5. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.400
6. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) + 0.419
7. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.440
8. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.509
9. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.516
10. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 0.588
Moto3™ head out for Q1 at 12:35 local time (GMT+2) in Le Mans, before then the fight for pole position gets underway at 13:00 local time (GMT+2).