Both Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez made the most of the better-than-expected conditions in France, ending Friday inside the top ten with fourth and eighth respectively.

As forecast, a gloomy morning opened the action at the French GP on Friday as the sound of MotoGP machines echoed along the main straight. Fortunately, the rain eased as the first session of the day continued and even allowed for slicks to briefly be used around the 4.2-kilometre-long circuit towards the end of FP1. Making the most of any clear weather during practice sessions will be crucial throughout the Grand Prix weekend.

Taking full advantage of the dry running at the end of Free Practice 1, Pol Espargaro left his run late but charged up the time sheets to end the morning as the fourth fastest rider. The time on track did give Espargaro a chance to understand the Honda RC213V in the different conditions as the circuit went from wet to dry. Espargaro’s fine form continued in Free Practice 2 where a 1’32.137 saw him end the day in fourth overall, only 0.001s shy of third place. An improved feeling on corner entry thanks to a busy test in Jerez has the #44 feeling confident moving forward.

Marc Marquez had a steady start to the day in France as he was able to maintain a top-ten position throughout much of FP1. Ending the morning session in fifth, just a single place behind his Repsol Honda Team team-mate Pol Espargaro, Marquez had already earmarked himself a spot in Q2. Marquez continued to improve his pace in FP2 alongside the rest of the field, protecting his position inside the top ten throughout. Ultimately ending the day in eighth, Marquez is keeping an eye on the sky for tomorrow.

With rain again predicted for Saturday morning in Le Mans, ending Friday inside the top ten could prove to be crucial in entering Q2 directly. Free Practice 3 will be the crucial session for this, set to begin at 09:55 Local Time – a wet practice will certainly see the best times unchanged while another dry session could offer a final chance for improvements.

Pol Espargaro

Fourth 1'32.137

"It has been a complete day with a wet session and a dry session, my first time riding the Honda in the wet. I was able to finish fourth in both sessions which is positive and the work we did in Jerez has paid off here when we went back out in the dry in the afternoon. Many of the problems we have had at earlier races we did not have, and we have improved our performance on corner entry a lot. But I am keeping calm, it was just one day with two practice sessions and tomorrow is more important. Let’s see what happens and what the weather will do."

Marc Marquez

Eighth 1'32.632

"We have had a standard day today, in the wet I feel better because it’s less demanding physically. In the dry we tried a few things on the bike but we are still working to improve our feeling and understand what is the bike and what is due to my physical condition. But I when I came into the box and saw eighth on the timing, it showed we are improving. Today was not about taking risks with the tricky conditions, we can take risks in qualifying and the race but for now it’s about being inside the limit."

MotoGP 2021
Practice Round 5   France

French GP Combined Free Practice Classification

Dry
Humidity
69%
Track Temp
14°C
Air Temp
15°C
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1'31.747
2 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.095
3 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.389
4 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.390
5 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0.532
6 Oliveira Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.549
7 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.614
8 Marquez Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.885
9 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0.922
10 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.964
11 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.015
12 Bagnaia Francesco 63 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1.053
13 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.161
14 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1.199
15 Lecuona Iker 27 SPA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.293
16 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.370
17 Marquez Alex 73 SPA LCR Honda Honda 1.457
18 Rabat Tito 53 SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 1.614
19 Bastianini Enea 23 ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1.789
20 Savadori Lorenzo 32 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2.238
21 Marini Luca 10 ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 2.400
22 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 2.773
Location Information

Built in 1965 around the existing 24-Hour track, the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit lies 5km south of the city of Le Mans and 200km south-west of Paris. The venue has hosted Grand Prix since the late sixties but a serious accident to Spanish rider Alberto Puig in… read more.

Length 4.185 kilometres / 2.6 miles
Width 13 metres
Left corners 5
Right corners 9
Longest straight 0.674 kilometres / 0.419 miles
Constructed 1966
Modified 2008
Resurfacing Resurfaced before 2017 round

Automobile Club de l'Ouest, Le Mans, France - View in Google Maps

www.lemans.org

Records

Pole Position 1m 31.185s (165.2km/h) Johann Zarco (Yamaha, 2018)
Race Lap 1m 32.309s (163.2km/h) Maverick Viñales (Yamaha, 2017)
Race Time 41m49.773s (162 km/h) Marc Marquez (Honda, 2018)
2021 Race Winner Jack Miller (Ducati)