Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez put a new aero package to good use in the opening Le Mans MotoGP practice this morning to top the timesheets, going fastest with his final flying lap to beat title rival Andrea Dovizioso by 0.025s.
Dovizioso, who is using the full Ducati bugger-lugs fairing, had rocketed to the top of the sheets with one minute left, putting in a 1’32.501 to demote Maverick Vinales but Marquez found a fraction to end on a 1’32.476.
With five minutes left to run, Vinales had put in a run of laps on a worn medium rear to take top spot on the Movistar Yamaha with a best of 1’32.543 to open a two-tenth gap on Britain’s Cal Crutchlow whose best of a 1’32.734 was enough for fourth place at the chequered flag.
Hometown hero Johann Zarco was 0.021s behind the LCR Honda man with a 1’32.755 while nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who led early doors, slipped back to sixth but is still only three-tenths off the pace.
Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone, who looks likely to remain with Davide Brivio’s team, is seventh on a 1’32.919 and the last man under the 1’33s barrier. Jorge Lorenzo, also running the big aero package, is ninth and one ahead of Bradley Smith on the Red Bull KTM.
Team-mate Pol Espargaro completes the top ten with Danilo Petrucci in 11th. The Pramac Ducati man began the session using the exact setting Dovizioso used during the Jerez race and he finished 0.778s off the pace. Jack Miller recovered from a crash to end in 12th with Tito Rabat, Aleix Espargaro and the injured Dani Pedrosa completed the top 15.