Following strong comments about Marquez’s riding in Jerez, Aleix Espargaro was again caught up behind the eight-time world champion to begin FP1. 

The Aprilia rider, who was sporting a new shoulder camera for FP1, eventually made his way through on Marquez. 

Hoping to show Suzuki why they made the wrong decision to leave MotoGP at the end of this season, Alex Rins began the session in fine form as he led from Maverick Vinales

As Espargaro improved his pace - jumped up to sixth momentarily - Marquez was following his fellow Spaniard closely as he went second. 

One of the most difficult corners on the MotoGP calendar, turn three quickly caught out Brad Binder as the KTM rider suffered a front-end crash. 

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In need of a big result, Maverick Vinales replaced Rins at the top of the leaderboard with just under a third of FP1 complete. The Aprilia rider could be in danger of losing his seat to the Suzuki rider, so finding form is paramount for the ex-Yamaha rider. 

As has been the case for much of this season, Fabio Quartararo was the only Yamaha rider consistently lapping inside the top ten. The home favourite was third fastest during the opening stint, while team-mate Franco Morbidelli was only 16th - RNF Yamaha rider Andrea Dovizioso was 19th. 

After jumping to the top of the timingsheets by just 0.005s, Quartararo was then demoted to P2 by factory Ducati rider Jack Miller, last year’s winner of the French Grand Prix. 

In what seems to be a continuous trend at the moment, FP1 was proving to be another tough session for KTM as they remained the only manufacturer without a bike inside the top ten. 

After going second quickest, Pol Espargaro nearly suffered a big highside at turn 11. Miguel Oliveira was not so lucky as he became the second factory KTM rider to crash. 

Marc Marquez is back!

Following Espargaro’s moment, Marquez went one better as he produced a sensational save. 

Tipping into turn 8 (second part of Garage Vert), Marquez lost the front on the right side, however, the Honda rider managed to regain traction as he saved the crash on his knee and elbow. 

Turn 11 did eventually catch riders out as Morbidelli fell at the right-hand corner. Luckily for the Italian his M1 suffered very little damage. 

Following Oliveira closely as FP1 was winding down, Francesco Bagnaia had to take avoiding action and run into the gravel as the KTM rider crashed for a second time. 

After his first fall at turn 10, the Portuguese rider suffered a fast crash at turn 6. 

Rins went back to the top inside five minutes to go, however, Miller was in no mood to lose out as he put his Ducati back in front by -0.131s. 

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Pol Espargaro responds to ‘fake news’ in fine style by topping Le Mans MotoGP FP1

With speculation suggesting Espargaro will lose his ride at Repsol Honda, rumours he has called ‘fake news’, the former Moto2 world champion produced a great lap to finish fastest from Rins. 

A time of 1:31.771s was just over a tenth clear of the Suzuki rider, while Bagnaia was the top Ducati in third, one place ahead of Quartararo.