On Friday evening, Cal Crutchlow predicted chaos of a fairly mild form. "FP3 will be just like a qualifying session," he said. In the end, the Englishman was right, as riders attacked the 2.9-mile track to claim an automatic place in Q2.

With the Le Mans track too wet for slick tyres through the first 30 minutes, the final third of the session became its own frantic, wild 15-minute shootout, which saw Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo finish 22nd and 23rd, and both KTMs qualify automatically for Q2.

Fast throughout the morning, Scott Redding was always near the front of the MotoGP standings. In the closing seconds he posted a final time of 1m 35.674s - the quickest lap of the weekend -, which was enough to push Crutchlow, a late improver, back to second.

Jack Miller dusted himself down from a mid-session fall at turn three to improve his Friday time, ending the session third, one place ahead of Valentino Rossi. After Johann Zarco, the Italian was the second rider to fit slicks, the nine-time world champion slowly working at bringing his lap time down, second-by-second.

A late burst from Marc Marquez was enough for the fifth fastest time, a place ahead of the impressive Karel Abraham. But surely this morning's big surprise was the pace of Pol Espargaro (seventh) and Bradley Smith (tenth), whose stunning performances pushed both KTM RC16s into the top ten at just the fifth race of the year.

Between the orange bikes, Maverick Vi?ales navigated his way into Q2 around a potential banana skin to finish eighth fastest, while home hero Loris Baz (ninth) outshone his countrymen Johann Zarco (15th) and Sylvain Guintoli (19th), both of whom fell through the 45 minutes.

This afternoon's Q1 will feature a host of big names, namely the factory Ducati pairing of Andrea Dovizioso (twelfth) and Lorenzo, Danilo Petrucci (14th), Zarco, Andrea Iannone (17th) and Pedrosa.

Lorenzo's woeful showing was all the more perplexing as he spoke of his "best ever feeling" with a machine in 50/50 conditions on Friday morning. 24 hours on and the Majorcan was reliving his nightmare from qualifying for last season's Australian Grand Prix.

Pedrosa meanwhile was cast 5.6s adrift, a meagre 0.3s quicker than his countryman, after continuing his struggle to generate heat in Michelin's slick tyres in these cold temperatures. The recent winner of the Spanish GP's current plight won't be soothed by Honda's strong presence in the top five.

CLICK HERE for the full results.

1. Scott Redding
2. Cal Crutchlow
3. Jack Miller
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Marc Marquez
6. Karel Abraham
7. Pol Espargaro
8. Maverick Vi?ales
9. Loris Baz
10. Bradley Smith

11.Alvaro Bautista
12. Andrea Dovizioso
13. Sam Lowes
14. Danilo Petrucci
15. Johann Zarco
16. Jonas Folger
17. Andrea Iannone
18.Tito Rabat
19. Sylvain Guintoli
20.Aleix Espargaro
21. Hector Barbera
22. Dani Pedrosa
23. Jorge Lorenzo

By Neil Morrison

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