Track conditions remained dry throughout both MotoGP
Free Practice sessions at Le Mans and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa ended the day as the man to beat. His teammate, Marc Marquez, notched the second-fastest lap, 0.134 off the top time with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi close behind in third. Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, finished the session in fourth.
“In today's practice sessions it was important to test the tires and make the most of the dry track time, because here you usually don't have that opportunity,” said Pedrosa. “So I tried to stay out on track for as long as possible and gather the best information, because maybe tomorrow it will rain –and you don't have that chance again.”
Marquez was one of the most improved riders on the grid during the day, shaving over one second off his best lap time from FP1 in FP2.
“I was fast today right out of the box and felt comfortable,” said Marquez. “In the first session I got a bit overwhelmed, because I could tell that the track was not allowing much space for me between the corners with this bigger bike and faster pace. I didn't have much time to think. I was calmer in the afternoon and things went much better.”
Valentino Rossi ended Friday's practice at Le Mans in third.
Since Le Mans demands plenty of hard braking, Rossi focused on dialing in his machine to improve its stopping power. Other adjustments were made to the back of his bike to help reduce wear on the rear tire. In the end he ran his best lap of the day on rubber that had more than 30 laps on it. Lorenzo was in contention for the fastest lap in FP2 until the final minutes when he got nipped by the Repsol duo and Rossi.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl is looking to turn his 2013 season around after crashing in both Qatar and Jerez. The German rider tested new parts during practice at Le Mans and was able to post the fifth-fastest lap of the day. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow ended in sixth position, less than half-a-second off Pedrosa’s top time.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden ended in seventh and eighth respectively followed by Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista who captured the ninth slot. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro led the CRT field once again, placing 10th.
Prior to Friday’s practice, the race weekend opened with a press conference in which Marquez and Lorenzo publicly made nice following the final corner incident at Jerez. The two shook hands and discussed their opinions on the matter, ultimately confirming that there’s no personal hostility between the two. Crutchlow was also a focus of attention as rumors have begun to swirl about his future once his contract with Tech 3 Yamaha is up at the end of this season. The British rider stressed he knows nothing at this point and will continue to do his best to get on the podium.
MotoGP LeMans Friday Results 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’34.035
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’34.169
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’34.173
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’34.201
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’34.299
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’34.512
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’34.578
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’34.590
9. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’34.739
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’35.045
11. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’35.362
12. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’35.433
13. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’35.447
14. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’35.864
15. Hector Barbera (FTR) 1’35.940
16. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’36.449
17. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’36.643
18. Karel Abraham (ART) 1’36.759
19. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’36.764
20. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 1’36.821
21. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 1’37.104
22. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 1’37.878
23. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’38.023
24. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 1’38.818