Perhaps the Eiffel Tower was a bit of a lucky charm to the local men who paid a visit before action set off in France. Fabio Quartararo had a dream start to his home race weekend, the Jerez poleman back at the top of the timesheets with a final flying lap in the 1:31s. Andrea Dovizioso looked keen to threaten that but had to make do with second position, one tenth slower than the lead Yamaha and another tenth ahead of teammate Danilo Petrucci.
Maverick Vinales also had a brief stint at the top ahead the final time attack before being pushed down to fourth position, ahead of compatriot Marc Marquez. Honda’s pride and joy finished fifth and only two and a half tenths off the lead despite setting his fastest lap on well worn rubber, Marquez doing his usual strategy despite the forecast alluding to some drops of rain come Saturday morning. However, it was an up and down session for Honda, mostly down for Jorge Lorenzo, who slid out on the kerb at turn 8 early on. Marquez almost immediately did a copycat of his teammate’s incident but the cat element came to the fore and saved his mechanics’ lunch break.
On the other hand, KTM seemed to have made an excellent start, Pol Espargaro only four thousandths of a second off Marquez on equally worn rubber and a thousandth of a second ahead of Jack Miller’s Ducati. Joan Mir was top Suzuki in eighth position, with Johann Zarco thriving in more familiar surroundings and climbing all the way to ninth.
Valentino Rossi had a forced pitstop halfway through the session when his chain seemed to break – his Yamaha presumably jealous of all the attention Honda’s chain was getting. The Italian went back out and managed to provisionally sneak into top ten positions, pushing out Cal Crutchlow and Academy apprentices Franco Morbidelli and Pecco Bagnaia. After his early adventures, Lorenzo finished the morning 14th, one second off the leader.