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Le Mans MotoGP: Lorenzo leads Yamaha FP3 fight back

Jorge Lorenzo fastest during Free Practice 3 for the 2014 French MotoGP at Le Mans.
CLICK HERE to view Free Practice 3 results for the 2014 French MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo led a Yamaha fight back during Saturday morning's third free practice session for the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

Only one Yamaha rider had been inside the top six on Friday, but three featured in the top five by the conclusion of FP3, when the fastest laps of the weekend so far were set.

Lorenzo - trying to claw his way back up the standings after a disastrous start to the season - had been just seventh after day one, but in confident mood after using the same (soft) rear tyre throughout.

The double world champion again worked on long runs with the soft rear for much of the Saturday session, before knocking reigning champion Marc Marquez from the top with a single 1m 33.021s flying lap at the end of the 45-minutes.

Quickest in both Friday sessions, Marquez had moved ahead of Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi to lead after ten minutes.

The Repsol Honda star, unbeaten in 2014, pushed his advantage to a peak of half-a-second, but didn't improve after running slightly wide at the end of his last lap and fell victim to Lorenzo by just 0.024s as a result.

Rookie Pol Espargaro backed up Lorenzo's M1 form with an excellent third place (+0.220s) for the home Tech 3 Yamaha team, after being just eleventh on Friday.

Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista dropped one place for fourth (+0.229s), with Rossi in a close fifth place (+0.310s).

The Italian had struggled to tenth on Friday but slashed one second off his best time to lead the early stages of the FP3.

Rossi had complained of a nervous bike under acceleration and intended to turn his Movistar Yamaha 'upside down' in search of a better set-up for Saturday. That included back-to-back tests of the new and older chassis, as being used by Lorenzo.

Whatever was done, it seemed to work. Rossi remaining second to Marquez until the final 15 minutes, having done three five-lap runs and almost matched Lorenzo for sub-1m 34 laps this morning.

Lorenzo set 12 laps under 1m 34s, Rossi 10 and Marquez 7.

Stefan Bradl and Dani Pedrosa, who both underwent arm pump surgery following the Spanish round, were sixth and seventh respectively, with Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone slipping from second to eighth on combined times after being the only rider in the top 16 not to improve in FP3.

Espargaro's team-mate Bradley Smith and factory Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso's seized the final top ten places for direct access to this afternoon's Qualifying 2 - Dovizioso being just 0.695s slower than Lorenzo.

Top Open class rider Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) will be forced to fight for the last two Q2 places in Qualifying 1, when he will be joined by the likes of Dovizioso's team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Crutchlow, twelfth and the slowest of the Ducati riders due to continued understeer and braking problems on Friday, lost another position for 13th (+1.312s) after FP3. The Englishman still looked to be suffering the same issues on Saturday, with the Ducati team crowding around the front brake discs on his Desmosedici.

The Factory class Honda and Yamaha riders used the soft rear tyre this morning, the medium compound so far appearing less competitive. The Open class and Ducati riders have access to the extra-soft rear tyre.

Free Practice 3:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Marc Marquez
3. Pol Espargaro
4. Alvaro Bautista
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Dani Pedrosa
8. Bradley Smith
9. Andrea Dovizioso
10. Andrea Iannone
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Yonny Hernandez
13. Cal Crutchlow
14. Hiroshi Aoyama
15. Colin Edwards
16. Nicky Hayden
17. Karel Abraham
18. Hector Barbera
19. Scott Redding
20. Mike Di Meglio
21. Broc Parkes
22. Michael Laverty

Tagged as: Yamaha , Lorenzo

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May 17, 2014 10:38 AM

The factory Yamahas look like they mean business. I hope so. I don't mind if Marquez wins, but I'd like it more if he earns it... Hopefully the satelite bikes will make a race of it too.


May 17, 2014 10:42 AM

I am more interested in what happens when points are at stake. And I am interested to see how JL performs at the start. Look who is languishing down in 8th spot (as usual) and look at his team mate Pol. Truth is Smith is yet to back his talk up with actions.

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