The riders at the center of the market rumors were the great protagonists of a first free practice session of the French MotoGP Grand Prix, to say the least, very tight, with the first 13 all enclosed in just 495 thousandths. Scissor that even shrinks to 190 if you look only at the first seven.
At Le Mans we are used to living with thunder and lightning, but this morning the transalpine track woke up kissed by the sun, with the riders of the premier class who were able to take advantage of it, unleashing truly high-level performances.
The fastest in the end was Pol Espargaro, who yesterday had to sweep away the rumors that they want him close to the farewell to Honda to make room for Joan Mir, who was “orphaned” after Suzuki’s decision to abandon MotoGP at end of the year.
The Granollers rider was particularly effective with his 1’31 “771 and this is undeniable, since his is the only RC213V that has slipped into the top ten. up to 13th place, with a gap of just under half a second, with the eight-time world champion unleashing another thrilling rescue after losing the front on the outer curb of Turn 8.
Behind Espargaro has hoisted Alex Rins, who seems to have started his plan to make Suzuki regret the decision to leave. The Spaniard finished 109 thousandths behind his compatriot, but as proof of the potential of the GSX-RR on this track, his teammate Joan Mir is also sixth at just 171 thousandths.
After the good victory in Jerez, Pecco Bagnaia started off on the right foot also at Le Mans, setting the third fastest time right on the last lap. The Ducati rider encountered some difficulties in T1, but then managed to line up with the best on the pace, slipping just 19 thousandths in front of the Yamaha of the host Fabio Quartararo, who is probably the one who showed the best things at the level of rhythm.
To contend with the leader of the World Championship is the direct rival both in this FP1 and in the standings, namely Aleix Espargaro. It is true that the Aprilia rider had to wait for the finish to get back to fifth position at 162 thousandths from the top, but it is also true that he did many laps with “red helmets” then ruined by some mistakes in the second part of the track. In general, the morning at the Noale manufacturer was good, as Maverick Vinales is also eighth.
To complete the picture of the top ten positions, therefore of the riders who at the moment would have direct access to Q2, there are three Ducatis. In seventh position we find that of Jack Miller, who remained the leader for a long time, before closing with a delay of 190 thousandths. On the other hand, there is the other local idol Johann Zarco, followed by an excellent Luca Marini.
Enea Bastianini, on the other hand, was only 12th, who also crashed at turn 8. The Gresini Racing rider has the Ducati 2022 fairing in his garage, but for the moment he has decided not to homologate it, preferring to wait for the test after the race Barcelona for further evaluation.
Continuing to climb the rankings, between the 15th and 17th position there is the all-tricolor trio made up of Marco Bezzecchi, Andrea Dovizioso and Fabio Di Giannantonio. Unfortunately it went worse for Franco Morbidelli, 20th and also crashed at turn 11.
To forget the KTM session: the best of the RC16s was that of Brad Binder in 18th position, albeit less than a second behind. Among other things, the South African crashed and teammate Miguel Oliveira did it twice. Raul Fernandez also ended up on the ground, returning after two stoppage races due to an injury to his right hand.