Sylvain Guintoli's first MotoGP weekend since 2011 began with the Frenchman 20th and then 16th, out of 23 riders, during an opening day of on-off rain at Le Mans.

The morning practice session was the quickest, thanks to some riders fitting slicks at the end, while FP2 was more representative of pure wet pace due to consistent conditions throughout.

"Today has been another learning day for me, only the second time for me on this GSX-RR and in very variable conditions," said Guintoli, replacing injured rookie Alex Rins at the Suzuki team. "Today for me was all about getting the feeling with the tyres and the bike in wet conditions, and I felt good.

"We managed to improve the pace step by step, and towards the end of the second session I could start to feel the limits, which means I'm getting on point. We need to carry on improving on the pace, but I am already faster than some other guys, so for the moment I can call myself happy."

Guintoli was 2.9s from fastest man Andrea Dovizioso in the afternoon, when Suzuki regular Andrea Iannone was fifth quickest.

The weather is predicted to improve on Saturday.

It is rumoured that Rins will also miss the next two events at Mugello and Catalunya.

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