Dani Pedrosa has topped the timesheets in the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Le Mans. The Repsol Honda man was strong throughout practice, and held off a late challenge from Jorge Lorenzo to take first blood in France. Lorenzo was not far off, however: on his final lap, he got to within four hundredths of Pedrosa's time, setting the scene for a very close weekend.
Valentino Rossi also had a strong start, taking third spot behind his Yamaha Factory teammate, three tenths off the time of Pedrosa and ahead of a pair of Ducatis, Nicky Hayden grabbing fourth while Andrea Dovizioso secured fifth. Cal Crutchlow ended the session in sixth place, ahead of Marc Marquez, who is still learning his way around the track on a MotoGP bike. The two satellite Honda riders follow in eighth and ninth, Alvaro Bautista a couple of tenths quicker than Stefan Bradl, while Hector Barbera made his way into the top ten to grab the final spot in the provisional line up for QP2.
The new qualifying format is likely to be important at Le Mans. With rain expected later on Friday and on Saturday, it will be crucial to get fast times in early. This realization had filtered its way through to the teams, as the riders went on a late charge in FP1 to try to put in a 'banker' lap, a lap which will secure them a spot on QP2 if the rain makes the rest of the sessions wet.
|10||8||Hector Barbera||FTR Kawasaki||1'35.949||1.304||0.471|
|11||41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia ART||1'36.083||1.438||0.134|
|14||14||Randy de Puniet||Aprilia ART||1'36.745||2.100||0.138|
|16||7||Hiroshi Aoyama||FTR Kawasaki||1'36.872||2.227||0.082|
|17||71||Claudio Corti||FTR Kawasaki||1'37.325||2.680||0.453|
|18||5||Colin Edwards||FTR Kawasaki||1'37.431||2.786||0.106|
|19||68||Yonny Hernandez||Aprilia ART||1'37.597||2.952||0.166|
|20||9||Danilo Petrucci||Suter BMW||1'37.620||2.975||0.023|
|21||17||Karel Abraham||Aprilia ART||1'38.209||3.564||0.589|
|22||67||Bryan Staring||FTR Honda||1'38.516||3.871||0.307|
|24||52||Lukas Pesek||Suter BMW||1'39.710||5.065||0.385|