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Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez edges out Dovizioso in FP1

Le Mans MotoGP: Marquez edges out Dovizioso in FP1
May 18, 2018, 8:52 AM

Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez led the opening practice session for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans after beating Andrea Dovizioso by a scant 0.025 seconds.

Amid cool but sunny conditions, the laptimes on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit tumbled in the final part of the 45-minute session, with the top spot changing hands several times.

Yamaha's Maverick Vinales looked to be in a strong position to top a race weekend session for the first time since last year's Aragon race when he moved ahead with nine minutes to go, knocking the Suzuki of Andrea Iannone off the top spot.

A succession of improvements by Vinales, culminating in a 1m42.543s, gave him a cushion of nearly half a second over his pursuers.

With just two minutes remaining, Marquez moved up to second on the works Honda, 0.051s behind Vinales, before Ducati rider Dovizioso posted a 1m32.501s to go fastest with less than a minute left.

But after the chequered flag came out, Marquez - using a new fairing he tested at Jerez - managed to post a time 0.025s faster to end the morning on top ahead, with Vinales having to settle for third, 0.067s down.

Best of the rest was LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow, 0.258s off the pace of stablemate Marquez and 0.021s ahead of fellow privateer Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) in fifth.

Valentino Rossi enjoyed several spells at the head of the times early on, but slumped to sixth in the final part of the session aboard the second works Yamahas, 0.301s off the pace.

Iannone was seventh, followed by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) and the two KTMs of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, which completed the top 10.

Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller crashed at the Dunlop chicane on his way to 12th, one place behind teammate Danilo Petrucci, while Aleix Espargaro was Aprilia's lead runner in 14th.

The only other crasher besides Miller was Thomas Luthi (Marc VDS Honda), who went down at the same corner in the final minutes and was classified last.

Practice results:

1 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 1'32.476  
2 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 1'32.501 0.025
3 25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 1'32.543 0.067
4 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 1'32.734 0.258
5 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 1'32.755 0.279
6 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 1'32.777 0.301
7 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 1'32.919 0.443
8 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 1'33.084 0.608
9 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 1'33.157 0.681
10 44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 1'33.245 0.769
11 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 1'33.254 0.778
12 43 australia Jack Miller  Ducati 1'33.268 0.792
13 53 spain Tito Rabat  Ducati 1'33.326 0.850
14 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 1'33.380 0.904
15 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 1'33.389 0.913
16 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 1'33.492 1.016
17 42 spain Alex Rins  Suzuki 1'33.692 1.216
18 30 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Honda 1'33.833 1.357
19 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Aprilia 1'33.851 1.375
20 17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 1'34.333 1.857
21 21 italy Franco Morbidelli  Honda 1'34.509 2.033
22 55 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Yamaha 1'34.600 2.124
23 10 belgium Xavier Simeon  Ducati 1'35.224 2.748
24 12 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Honda 1'35.232 2.756
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