Monster Energy Grand Prix de France
Friday, 16 May
As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of the 2014 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France concluded at Le Mans, Marc Marquez outpaced his fellow premier class riders, leading the way from Andrea Iannone and Alvaro Bautista in FP2.
Having also topped the timesheet in the morning session, Marquez quickened the pace in the afternoon sunshine, registering a 1’33.452 best time, which is under the fastest lap in a race at Le Mans set by Dani Pedrosa in 2011.
Behind Repsol Honda man Marquez in FP2 was the impressive Iannone (Pramac Racing) who appears to be enjoying his riding more than ever this season. He was just 0.007s behind Marquez whilst GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Bautista was just over 0.2s down.
Making up for a big crash in FP1, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) was fourth best with a time less than 0.5s off Marquez’ pace – whilst Pedrosa was fifth with a similar pace to Smith.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) were also within a top ten which was completed by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Rossi produced a slight, late improvement to move up from 11th, despite a run off track towards the end of the session.
A crash for Moto2™ 2013 Le Mans race winner Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) with 15 minutes to go disrupted his FP2 workout at turn 9 but he was not hurt and went straight back out on a second bike.
A long run-off around turn 7 (Museum Corner) saw the older Espargaro brother do well to keep bike upright through the gravel.
Moto2™: Salom too quick for the rest at Le Mans
In the second Moto2™ practice at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France on Friday rookie Luis Salom was the fastest rider on track, in front of Tito Rabat and Maverick Viñales, with a best lap right at the end of the session.
Pons HP 40 man Salom was already leading in the final stages but improved to 1’38.254 to end Friday ahead of his fellow intermediate class riders.
Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) also pushed hard late in the practice but was ultimately 0.06s off the pace of his young compatriot, with Viñales (Pons HP 40) in third by a 0.1s margin.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) was fractionally (0.004s) slower than Moto3™ World Champion Viñales in fourth, with Jonas Folger (AGR Team) making it three rookies in the top five.
Completing the top ten were Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing), Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team), Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) and Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2).
A big crash for Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) early in FP2 at turn 3 saw a high speed lowside take him into the gravel, before Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru Team JiR Webike) quickly rejoined having dropped his bike on track and then restarting at trackside.
Towards the end of the practice Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) crashed to end his session prematurely, but he, Luthi and Nagashima were all unharmed.
Moto3™: Alex Marquez sets down a marker in second practice
In the Moto3™ FP2 session on Friday afternoon at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France it was Alex Marquez who notched the quickest lap of Le Mans, followed by Alex Rins and Jack Miller at the top.
Indeed the fastest ever lap of Le Mans on a Moto3 machine (1’43.395s) gave Marquez the lead in the session by 0.041s from his Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins, whilst Miller was third (0.048s).
FP1’s fastest rider Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) and Italian youngster Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) were both in the top five.
Meanwhile, the top ten also featured Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46), John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), rookie Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46).
There were light crashes for Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra) and Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) who were both able to continue, but French wildcard Reynald Castillon (Team RMS) was carried away from a highside and later ruled out of the rest of the weekend due a left wrist injury.