Le Mans kept everyone on their toes from the very first outing of the premier class, with changing track conditions throughout FP1. The session started cold and damp, before patches of blue sky hinted at a dry line that allowed Jack Miller to work his magic on slicks. With rain making an appearance straight after the Australian built an advantage of almost three seconds at the top of the timesheets, Miller’s work was done, but the rest of the top ten was up for grabs once rivals went back to rain tyres. Johann Zarco was not tempted by slicks and was fast enough for second regardless, reducing the gap to his Ducati colleague to a second and a half. Joan Mir made a late jump into the top three, after a busy session that started with a technical issue that saw the world champion abandon his Suzuki at turn 8.
The Honda duo of Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez joined the top 5, with Marquez one of the few riders tempted by the slicks but timing it poorly as rain started falling for the final handful of minutes. Lorenzo Savadori also seemed to enjoy the tricky conditions, the rookie placing Aprilia in sixth position, ahead of championship leader Pecco Bagnaia. Miguel Oliveira, Alex Rins and Aleix Espargaro rounded out a top ten covered by 3 seconds, while Alex Marquez missed out by two tenths of a second after a late tumble on slicks.
The session ended with no Yamahas in the top 10, Maverick Viñales 12th fastest and with teammate Fabio Quartararo down in 16th. The Spaniard did not get to be part of the late time attack after he slid out while coming out of pitlane, while Quartararo was cautiously testing the situation after his recent arm pump surgery. While Le Mans tends to be rather unpredictable, Yamaha will be hoping for enough dry track time over the next 24 hours to upset the top 10 positions for Q2.