The opening day of MotoGP action at Le Mans was a good one for French fans as Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo led the way. 

Zarco was fastest with a time of 1:31.747s, while Quartararo was less than a tenth back for Monster Energy Yamaha. 

Both riders have already shared the podium this season in Qatar which was described as a ‘special occasion’ by the pair - words once again used by Quartararo to sum up his thoughts today.

Quartararo said: "It's special because I think that to see two French riders in the top, it's not that we are six or seven French riders and we see two on top. It's that there are two of us, and we are two on top. 

"I think that is a great feeling for France and I think that we show our potential with two different bikes, and I think that it's nice to see two French riders on top."

Like his team-mate Maverick Vinales, Quartararo came to the fore during FP2 as the conditions changed from wet to dry. 

And while that was a positive, Quartararo also has a cold tyre issue like Vinales which led to a crash.

Quartararo was one of nine crashers during the day in the premier class and slid off at the Dunlop chicane as did Vinales. 

"I think first of all that the pit limiter is way too far from where we start from the pit lane. So it's not great, I think we need to put it way more close, and yes, it's so difficult to warm up the tyre," added Quartararo.

"But you know, my pace was good straight away after. In my fast lap I had a yellow flag and that lap was way faster than the one I did 31.8, it was a 31.5 or something. 

"But happy, because straight away after the crash the pace was great, and I'm feeling good on the bike."

While admitting to feeling a little ‘strange’ and ‘different’ following his surgery, Quartararo said the arm ‘feels good’ in general.

The Frenchman added: "I felt different, a little bit strange. I was a little bit more anxious in FP2, because in FP2 everyone was with new tyres and pushing straight away because maybe it was going to rain. 

"It was a good lap time - it was not a time attack, but just a new tyre with the fuel and I was quite impressed with my lap time. The arm feels good, a little bit strange, but it's OK."

 

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