Frenchman Jules Cluzel got his home Le Mans weekend off to a perfect start by leading Friday practice for the Moto2 class.
The Forward Racing (Suter) rider knocked long-time leader, and Jerez winner, Toni Elias from the top in the closing stages of the hour, with another former Gresini MotoGP rider - Alex de Angelis - demoting Elias to third at the end of the session.
Team Scot (Force GP2) rider de Angelis, who was injured at round one and missed round two, was only 0.089sec behind Cluzel at the flag.
Sergio Gadea Pons (Pons Kalex) and former 250GP race winner Fonsi Nieto (Moriwaki) completed a top five covered by 0.601sec, with Yuki Takahashi sixth for the French-based Tech 3 team.
The first grand prix session for the Aspar outfit using a Suter chassis, after their recent switch from the RSV, saw Julian Simon and home star Mike di Meglio ranked seventh and 21st respectively.
RSV is now without a team after Cardion AB, which runs Karel Abraham, also ditched the design ahead of this weekend's round. Abraham was 30th out of the 41 riders on his competitive debut with the FTR.
Title leader Shoya Tomizawa was 19th fastest on the Technomag-CIP (Suter), but only 1.3sec behind Cluzel.
Friday practice - Le Mans:
1. Cluzel (Suter) 1m 39.827s
2. de Angelis (Force GP2) +0.089s
3. Elias (Moriwaki) +0.278s
4. Gadea (Pons Kalex) +0.572s
5. Nieto (Moriwaki) +0.601s
6. Takahashi (Tech 3) +0.727s
7. Simon (Suter) +0.981s
8. Wilairot (Bimota) +0.988s
9. Luthi (Moriwaki) +1.040s
10. Iannone (Speed Up) +1.071s
18. Redding (Suter) +1.334s