The typical changing conditions in Le Mans left the premier class in a confusing situation, as they started the final practice session on slick rubber fit for a drying track but clouds changed their mind and started shedding more water so the woolly hats went back on while riders waited for Le Mans to make up its mind. The track finally got busy for the final 15 minutes of the session, when Fabio Quartararo went fastest on a drying track, but only seven thousandths of a second ahead of Alex Rins.
Le Mans, France
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Le Mans:
The cold conditions at Le Mans has forced Dorna to reschedule the morning warm up sessions for all three Grand Prix classes. The warm ups have all been pushed back 40 minutes, so that they start at 9am rather than 8:20am. Moto3 will be at 9am, Moto2 at 9:30am, and MotoGP at 10am.
The rescheduling of warm up has also forced a change to the MotoE race time. Instead of in the morning, the MotoE race will start at 3:30pm in the afternoon, after the MotoGP race has finished.
The new schedule appears below, all times local time (CEST):
Despite the cloud cover, dry track conditions maintained for the final practice session of the MotoE class and times got quicker throughout the 30 minutes of track action. The fastest man proved to be Hikari Okubo, although only four hundredths of a second faster than Yonny Hernandez. FP2 leader Eric Granado was third, one tenth off top spot and narrowly ahead of reigning champion Jordi Torres.
After overnight rain and a few drops throughout the MotoGP session, the track started drying as the intermediate class took their turn, which meant there was not much action until the conditions were good enough for slick tyres. Times got quicker and quicker in the final third of the session, but ultimately not quick enough to challenge the combined hierarchy from FP2. Rookie extraordinaire Raul Fernandez took top spot at the checkered flag by going over half a second quicker than compatriots Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernandez.
Day 2 at Le Mans started with a fully wet track and the surface saw a little more rainfall as the premier class got going for their third practice session. There were a few riders who loved the conditions and went quick straight away but once rain stopped and the track started changing, it was a familiar face making the headlines once more, with Marc Marquez back in charge by six tenths of a second and the only time in the 1:40s.
After the changing conditions caused some headaches on day 1 at Le Mans, Saturday morning brought a fully wet track surface following overnight rain, which meant that the lightweight class stood no chance of changing the order in the combined standings. However, it was a chance for rookie Adrian Fernandez to shine, the Spaniard snatching top spot at the checkered flag by almost half a second from Yuki Kunii. Andrea Migno made a late jump into the top three, while John McPhee got demoted to fourth, while Niccolò Antonelli completed the top five.
It was an expensive first day at Le Mans. Bikes in the three Grand Prix classes hit the deck (and the gravel trap) 44 times on Friday, a colossal number, even for Le Mans. To put that into perspective: at the first race in Qatar, there were 37 crashes over all three days of the first Grand Prix, and 27 over three days of the Doha round at Qatar. In fact, six of the nineteen rounds held in 2019 had fewer crashes over all three days than Le Mans did on Friday, and another five rounds only had a handful more.
Some 19 of those 44 crashes happened at Turn 3, the first left hander of the Dunlop Chicane. Given how quickly the costs of a crash can mount up – even a slow crash can cost north of €20,000 to replace carbon fiber fairings, footpegs, and levers. And if fuel tanks, exhausts, wheels, brake discs or (heaven forfend) frames and swingarms have to be replaced, costs can rapidly approach six figures.
The Moto3 class got to close the first day at Le Mans and the honours for the day went to Eric Granado, after rival Dominique Aegerter robbed him in the morning session. Jordi Torres reduced the gap to the Brazilian to a tenth of a second in the closing minutes of FP2, while Lukas Tulovic joined them in the top three. Round 1 victor Alessandro Zaccone was fourth, while Aegerter rounded out the top five, about three tenths off the leader.
The intermediate class also got to enjoy some solid running in dry conditions, despite the track getting pretty dark in places and gravel traps getting as busy as ever. Augusto Fernandez started the session as the fastest man in the improved conditions, until teammate Sam Lowes took over at the top of the timesheets for the final 10 minutes. Top rookie Raul Fernandez came within a tenth of a second of the lead, ahead of his more experienced namesake from the Marc VDS squad. Championship leader Remy Gardner and a rapid Nicolò Bulega completed the top five, four tenths off top spot.