Jorge Lorenzo has dominated the opening day of action at Le Mans, taking the top spot by 0.2 from Andrea Iannone in the day’s final session, as well as becoming the only man to dip into the 1:33 minute laps.
Iannone was second with a late lap, just ahead of Marc Marquez, with only 0.1 covering the duo behind Lorenzo.
Pol Espargaró was a surprise fourth at his team’s home race, leading a provisional second row from Andrea Dovizioso and his brother Aleix, while Maverick Viñales headed up the third row on the other Suzuki.
Morning leader Dani Pedrosa was eighth, ahead of Hector Barbera and Valentino Rossi, with the nine-time champion’s strategy of going fast from the beginning of the weekend failing to pan out like it did in Jerez.
Cal Crutchlow was the best of the Brits in 12th, ahead of fellow FP2 crasher Scott Redding in 13th and Bradley Smith in 14th, while Eugene Laverty finished the day in 16th.