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MotoGP France: Late surge puts Pedrosa top in FP1

While speculation mounts over his future, a late Dani Pedrosa run puts him on top of the MotoGP FP1 timesheets in Le Mans, France.
While most of the questions on Thursday focussed on his future plans, Dani Pedrosa showed his desire to get the French Grand Prix underway was well founded as he sped to the top of the timesheets in MotoGP FP1 at Le Mans.

A late stint toward the end of the session was enough to see Pedrosa lead Jorge Lorenzo by the narrow margin of 0.044s, with championship leader Marc Marquez ending the 45-minute session in third.

On Thursday Pedrosa opined the uncustomary warm conditions enveloping the 2.6-mile track would be good for grip, and so it proved. In Texas he had said that, because of his stature, he had to use Michelin's softest rear tyre, no matter what performance it offered. In FP1 his fastest time didn't come with the softest construction.

Always in and around the top two positions, Lorenzo was consistently fast, but may well be concerned by the threat posed by both Repsol Hondas, as Marquez was just under a quarter of a second slower in third. Le Mans was, after all, the track where HRC's deficiencies were brutally exposed a year ago.

Marquez began the morning without any winglets on his RC213V, but set his fastest time using the triple strake design he sampled in the Monday test at Jerez.

Bouncing back from its Andalusian nightmare, both factory Ducatis showed well and inside the top six. Andrea Dovizioso (fourth, +0.301) and Andrea Iannone's (sixth, +0.447s) Desmosedici GPs sported winglets that were considerably larger to what has gone before.

Fast from the off too, Valentino Rossi ended the session in fifth (+0.410s) and will be content to have started the weekend in a similar fashion to Jerez, the scene of his most dominant victory since his last world title.

Just under half a second covered the top six, but you have to go all the way back to the returning Danilo Petrucci in 15th to find a rider who was more than one second slower than Pedrosa.

After enjoying an early stint in P1, Pol Espargaro finished the morning in a heartening seventh place, with Maverick Viñales – yet to make a decision on his 2017 plans – in eighth. Loris Baz shrugged off a late crash to climb to ninth with Cal Crutchlow tenth.

1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Marc Marquez
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Andrea Iannone
7. Pol Espargaro
8. Maverick Viñales
9. Loris Baz
10. Cal Crutchlow
11. Bradley Smith
12. Aleix Espargaro
13. Hector Barbera
14. Scott Redding
15. Danilo Petrucci
16. Yonny Hernandez
17. Stefan Bradl
18. Jack Miller
19. Alvaro Bautista
20. Tito Rabat
21. Eugene Laverty

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pedrosa, Spanish MotoGP Race 2016
Pedrosa, Zarco, Vinales, French MotoGP 2017
Rossi, Vinales, French MotoGP 2017
Iannone, French MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Crutchlow, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Baz, Iannone French MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Petrucci French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi French MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Petrucci French MotoGP 2017
Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Crutchlow, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017

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