The track was hotting up, mostly literally, for the afternoon play session of the premier class and it was freshly renewed Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso who wrote another headline after his earlier announcement. The metaphorical fight for the lead was, as ever, between him and Marc Marquez. The final runs saw Marquez having a look at the hard rear tyre while Dovizioso kept to his softs. The status quo was maintained at the top until the final time attack but the world champion made sure to keep us entertained by piling up the saves. Johann Zarco chased some home glory as he took over the lead in the final three minutes but he was soon denied by Dovizioso, who became the only rider to drop into the 1:31s on the French circuit.
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A big improvement in track temperature predictably led to faster times and faster crashes. No harm done and it ended up as a good afternoon at the office for the Italians. Tony Arbolino sat at the top of the timing screens for most of the session, until Niccolo Antonelli dethroned him in a final time attack. The SIC58 Squadra racer snuck ahead of Kaito Toba by a mere four hundredths of a second but the Japanese rider missed out on perfectly fine opportunity to fight back by suffering a rather speedy crash on his last lap.
As morning in Le Mans was starting to warm up, the boost in confidence saw quite a few intermediate class riders test the gravel traps around the circuit, with no serious consequences. One man who managed to avoid all that was Marcel Schrotter, who grabbed the lead from Alex Marquez at the halfway point of the session and ran away at the front – at one point over four tenths faster than the rest.
A clear but cool morning awaited the premier class for their first venture on French grounds and it was going to be a first indication of the pecking order, especially for Yamaha. The only real conclusion was that the situation is as close as ever, the lead exchanging hands between four factories about every five minutes. Cal Crutchlow was the early leader, with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone also putting their names at the top but it wasn’t to be for any of the three in the end.
The forecast in Le Mans likes to give us a scare every now and again but the predicted clouds were nowhere to be seen by the time the first session of the weekend got off to a start. Under sunny blue skies, Enea Bastianini led most of a pretty close session until Jorge Martin picked up the lead in final five minutes. The Spaniard was only a tenth of a second off until that point and went on to sneak ahead of Jakub Kornfeil by a tenth and a half.
Times at the end of the Jerez test on Monday:
Times at 4:30pm:
Times at 3pm:
Times at 1pm:
Results and summary of the MotoGP race in Jerez:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Jerez:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race in Jerez: