Le Mans may be known as a Yamaha track, but (factory) Honda riders swept the top four places during Friday morning's first free practice session in France.

Leading a Repsol 1-2-3 was Casey Stoner, with Estoril winner Dani Pedrosa 0.298sec slower and Andrea Dovizioso - still seeking his first podium of the year - 0.675sec from the Australian.

San Carlo Honda Gresini Marco Simoncelli was 0.896sec from Stoner and the final rider within one-second of the top.

Yamaha's reigning world champion, 2011 points leader and Le Mans winner for the past two years, Jorge Lorenzo, was the leading non-RC212V rider with a best lap 1.032sec from Stoner.

Valentino Rossi, due to ride with a new Desmosedici chassis this weekend, was sixth quickest (+1.281sec) with home hero and satellite GP11 rider Randy de Puniet one place behind him.

Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden made it three Ducatis in a row, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Cal Crutchlow - who impressed with fourth at the recent Estoril test - maintaining momentum with ninth at the end of his first hour of riding at Le Mans.

Directly behind Crutchlow as Lorenzo's factory M1 team-mate Ben Spies and then the second Tech 3 bike of Colin Edwards.

The healing Alvaro Bautista, also due to use a new chassis this weekend, was 14th out of the 17 riders for Rizla Suzuki.

Second practice takes place this afternoon.

Friday practice (1):

1. Stoner
2. Pedrosa
3. Dovizioso
4. Simoncelli
5. Lorenzo
6. Rossi
7. de Puniet
8. Hayden
9. Crutchlow
10. Spies
11. Edwards
12. Capirossi
13. Aoyama
14. Bautista
15. Elias
16. Barbera
17. Abraham



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