Estrella Galicia Honda’s Jack Miller dominated the opening MotoGP free practice session at Le Mans, switching to slicks very early on a drying track to open a gap of more than three seconds which was eventually closed back down to 1.288 by Marc Marquez.
Miller changed from wets to slicks with ten minutes left to run and, as is usual for the Australian in those conditions, charged to the top of the timesheets with a 1’41.599 and he was never headed, chopping his time right down to a 1’37.467.
Reigning champion Marquez’s last lap brought him a 1’38.755 while hometown hero Johann Zarco hopped into third place with his final effort, putting in a 1’39.248 on the Monster Yamaha.
It was a frantic final five minutes as Loris Baz, who was first on to slicks, exchanged times with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow but was pushed down to fifth by the LCR Honda’s man’s last lap of 1’39.607.
Aspar Ducati’s Karel Abraham showed some pace, bagging sixth place just ahead of Bradley Smith on the KTM, who charged through with a 1’40.817 to head Valentino Rossi. The Doctor looked tentative when he changed to slicks but his last lap pulled him from the wrong end of the table to eighth on a 1’40.894.
Alvaro Bautista and Maverick Vinales completed the top ten with Andrea Iannone and Jonas Folger finishing in front of Dani Pedrosa. Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci completed the top 15 in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Scott Redding. Sam Lowes ended in 19th, just ahead of Sylvain Guintoli with the Espargaro brothers in the final spots.