Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow made a strong start to the Tech 3 Yamaha team's biggest event of the season, at Le Mans on Friday.

Le Mans is not only the team's home round, but is also backed by their title sponsor Monster.

Dovizioso, who finished on the Le Mans podium for Repsol Honda last year, claimed third place in morning practice then sixth in the afternoon.

"I am very happy because the dry conditions meant we could concentrate on working on the set-up of the bike and my feeling has improved a lot with the Yamaha," said Dovi. "I was third fastest this morning but I did two good practice sessions working a lot on the race set-up of the bike, particularly with the endurance of the Bridgestone tyres.

"My best lap time came with 23 laps on the rear tyre, so this is very positive and shows that my pace for the race is not bad at all. We just need to fine-tune the set-up of the bike tomorrow but we don't have any big problems where we have to think about making some big modifications.

"I would like to improve my feeling a little bit with the front tyre and I hope it will be dry tomorrow and we can continue improving the bike. But even if rains we are already in a good point to be fighting for a really good result in the race on Sunday."

Crutchlow kicked off his second French MotoGP weekend with seventh on the timesheets in both sessions, finishing the day 0.870s behind leader Casey Stoner and just 0.025s from Dovizioso.

"We have a couple of small problems but nothing that I don't think we can fix ahead of the race. I can't get the bike to turn into the corner as I'd like and I'm losing a little bit of time in that area," explained Crutchlow. "We will have a sit down tonight and see if we can come up with a set-up that will improve the turning.

"To be honest, Le Mans is not the best circuit for me and it is quite difficult. I've only been here once before and I crashed in the race last year, so a big part of my job today was just trying to gain some more experience with the layout.

"It was still a positive day and I am really close to Andrea and Ben [Spies], so with an improvement to the turning of the bike, I'm sure I can be even more competitive. The weather might not be as good tomorrow but I am ready for anything and determined to do the best job I can for Tech 3 and Monster this weekend."

Jorge Lorenzo was the top M1 rider on Friday, in third place.

Crutchlow and Dovizioso are fourth and fifth respectively in the 2012 championship standings, having exchanged fourth place in the opening three races.