The rain in Le Mans was kind enough to stop before the start of the first MotoGP practice of the day, but the brand new tarmac stayed damp in the chilly conditions for most of the session. The final fifteen minutes saw some brave souls head out on slick tyres, Jack Miller the first to make the best of them by topping the timesheets by over three seconds at one point. The Marc VDS rider kept his top position to the flag, although the gap became a little more reasonable.
Marc Marquez was the first to cut that deficit significantly, the reigning world champion ending up second and a second down on Miller. The momentum in the Tech 3 garage keeps on swinging, with Jonas Folger leading the session early on, before dropping down the order to twelfth position, whilst Johann Zarco climbed up the timesheets to finish third, half a second off Marquez.
Cal Crutchlow made a fast final run to make up ground and finish fourth, with Loris Baz and Karel Abraham some welcome surprises in the top six as top Ducatis in the session. Bradley Smith placed his KTM seventh despite only running for a handful of laps in the final part of FP1.
Valentino Rossi did not have the ideal start to his weekend, as has often been the case this year, but even by those standards, the Italian being last for much of the session was a worrying sight. The Yamaha veteran recovered with a final run on slick tyres to finish eighth, in front of Alvaro Bautista and teammate Maverick Viñales, who completed the top ten on wet tyres.
The trophy from Jerez looked to be weighting down Dani Pedrosa, who appeared to take it easy in the mixed conditions and dropped down to thirteenth position after being inside the top ten for most of the session. For a man who is reportedly not enamoured with damp conditions, Jorge Lorenzo topped the timesheets at the start of the session but also slipped down to sixteenth position towards the end.