Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales topped the second MotoGP free practice at Le Mans and finished
Friday on top as a bad weather forecast predicts rain for the third session tomorrow.
Vinales traded times with Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Lorenzo - with everyone on soft rear Michelins - before setting a 1’31.428 to end with a two-tenth advantage over reigning champion Marc Marquez who scorched into second with his last lap.
It was again bad news for Vinales’ team-mate Valentino Rossi who made a late swingarm pivot setup change but it didn’t have the desired effect and The Doctor finished in 14th place and into qualifying one should the rain arrive.
This morning’s fastest man Fabio Quartaro was bumped to third after leading with two minutes left. The Petronas Yamaha man, who used a medium front with his soft rear, put in a 1’31.713 but the big surprise was Lorenzo.
After a crash and a poor performance in FP1, the former champion came out swinging with the soft Michelins and rocketed to the top of the timesheets with five minutes left to run but ended up getting shuffled back to fourth.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso finished only 0.020s behind his former team-mate with a 1’31.736 with Danilo Petrucci bouncing back from a weird crash to finish sixth.
The former policeman lost the front on the exit of turn eight with a spill that looked like the front brake had stuck and the Michelin tyre washed out as Petrucci got hard on the gas.
Pol Espargaro - who is using a new carbon swingarm - finished in seventh with a lap that was sandwiched by two crashes. The Red Bull KTM man fell early on at turn 14, bounced back with a 1’31.923 and then went down again at turn 11 - followed into the gravel by Jack Miller for his second spill of the session.
Miller’s time from this morning - a 1’32.238 - was enough to keep him in tenth place but only by 0.001s. He was bumped down by laps from Aleix Espargaro - who also lobbed the Aprilia - and Taka Nakagami.
Franco Morbidelli, on the second Petronas M1, was 11th while Cal Crutchlow crashed at turn six which cost him a time attack chance and he ended in 12th.
Pecco Bagnaia, Rossi and Joan Mir - who topped into the gravel on his last lap - completed the top 15. Alex Rins had another poor free practice, finishing in 16th with Johann Zarco in 17th six tenths down on works KTM Espargaro.