The first properly wet session of the year for the premier class came as predicted on Saturday morning at Le Mans and it saw most of the usual suspects shining under the cloud cover. The Yamahas came to the surface like earthworms after rain at the start of the session but rivals picked up some speed on the final run and it turned into a tasty Yamaha-Honda-Ducati battle. Maverick Vinales carried the flag for the blue bikes and ended the session in the lead by nearly two tenths of a second from the master of tricky conditions, Marc Marquez. In Ducati’s corner stood Jack Miller, who thrived in the wet and was the first of only three men to dip down into the 1:42s.
Alex Rins was best of the rest, showing good one lap speed in the wet but still almost a second off the fastest man and not close enough to Vinales and Marquez’s pace. However, given the drastic change of conditions overnight, FP2 times stood for the combined standings and the Spaniard will have to go through Q1 – as will Johann Zarco, who provided a late surprise for the home audience by jumping into fifth in the session. Danilo Petrucci was a couple hundredths of a second behind, with Jorge Lorenzo leaving it late to join the top seven but a full second slower than his teammate.
Pol Espargaro found himself as not the first KTM since quite a while but snuck ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, with compatriot Valentino Rossi completing the top ten. Despite an early fall, Joan Mir led the rookie brigade ahead of Miguel Oliveira and Fabio Quartararo, with the likes of Cal Crutchlow and Franco Morbidelli nearly two seconds off Vinales’ top time.