MotoGP: Pedrosa’s Jerez form continues in FP1 in France

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time in MotoGP FP1 at Le Mans this morning as bright sunshine greeted the MotoGP riders for their first laps of the iconic circuit.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

Photo: Repsol Honda

AB Cardion CRT man Karel Abraham made his return to the paddock after missing Jerez with a shoulder injury whereas Ignite Pramac Ducati’s American star Ben Spies isn’t so fortunate as he misses his second successive round due to the on-going shoulder problems that hampered him so badly in Austin. Spies will be replaced this weekend by test rider Michele Pirro who, according to the Ducati Corse squad, did an excellent job at Jerez on the ‘Lab’ bike.

GO&FUN Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista made the early running with Hector Barbera putting his recent troubles behind him before the major players started to find their feet and it was Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo who was first to top the timesheets before Pedrosa, Bradl, Crutchlow and Rossi joined the top six to show their intent for the weekend.

Tech3 rookie Bradley Smith had an early call for an underwear change as he ran on through the gravel at the incredibly fast turn 2, bouncing the bike over the lip of the tarmac as he rejoined the circuit in what was the only incident of note in the opening 45 minute session where, after 15 mins the top 5 read Bradl, Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Dovizioso and Lorenzo.

Austin GP winner, and 2nd place man from Jerez, Marc Marquez took  relatively few laps to get up to speed on the MotoGP Honda RC213V on his first visit to the track on a big bike. The previous Grand Prix had either a three day practice session as in Qatar or the team had tested at the track pre-season in the case of Austin and Jerez so this is the reigning Moto2 World Champion’s first experience of coming to a track ‘cold’, and at the mid point of the session was running as high as 2nd, as if to underline his undoubted ability.

The circuit record at Le Mans belongs to Dani Pedrosa with a 1:33.6s lap, no chance of that being surpassed in the first session of the weekend, and Pedrosa also holds the fastest ever lap of the track at 1:32.6 set on Michelin qualifying tyres in 2006. It was Pedrosa who was first into the 1:34s bracket, almost half a second ahead of Lorenzo before the the final flurry of laps saw Lorenzo, Rossi and Nicky Hayden all post sub-1:35s laps to round out the sesssion. Pedrosa was fastest with a 1:34.645 with Lorenzo almost matching his pace just 0.040s behind from Valentino Rossi, who’s shared 9 podiums and taken three wins at the track, Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.

1 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 308.5 1’34.645
2 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 307.5 1’34.685 0.040 / 0.040
3 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 303.4 1’34.938 0.293 / 0.253
4 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 300.1 1’34.972 0.327 / 0.034
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 305.6 1’35.072 0.427 / 0.100
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 304.1 1’35.149 0.504 / 0.077
7 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 304.1 1’35.170 0.525 / 0.021
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 305.5 1’35.285 0.640 / 0.115
9 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 306.9 1’35.478 0.833 / 0.193
10 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 289.3 1’35.949 1.304 / 0.471
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 287.6 1’36.083 1.438 / 0.134
12 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 303.5 1’36.211 1.566 / 0.128
13 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 294.9 1’36.607 1.962 / 0.396
14 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 285.9 1’36.745 2.100 / 0.138
15 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 303.5 1’36.790 2.145 / 0.045
16 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 285.9 1’36.872 2.227 / 0.082
17 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 287.8 1’37.325 2.680 / 0.453
18 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 287.6 1’37.431 2.786 / 0.106
19 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 283.8 1’37.597 2.952 / 0.166
20 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 283.3 1’37.620 2.975 / 0.023
21 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 285.8 1’38.209 3.564 / 0.589
22 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 284.1 1’38.516 3.871 / 0.307
23 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 288.3 1’39.325 4.680 / 0.809
24 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 284.5 1’39.710 5.065 / 0.385

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