Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoE class at Le Mans:
Le Mans, France
The intermediate class enjoyed their first fully dry session of the weekend on Saturday morning but that did not seem to halt the gravel trap party at all. Joe Roberts spent most time at the top of the timing screens, with brief interruptions from the likes of Jorge Navarro and Marco Bezzecchi, but the American retook the lead on his penultimate flying lap, going on to crash at turn 8 on his final flying lap. One tenth down on the timesheets, Bezzecchi also closed the session with a tumble at turn 13, while Augusto Fernandez joined the top three without any incident.
The premier class finally got a dry session in Le Mans, albeit still cool under the deceptively bright sun. After taking it very easy in the tricky conditions on Friday, Fabio Quartararo was quick to put his name back at the top of the timesheets and went on to set a fine pace. The home favourite entered the shootout in prime position and ended it there too, a tenth of a second faster than a resurgent Miguel Oliveira. Franco Morbidelli was one of his teammate’s main challengers throughout the session but had to make do with third, while showing decent pace on used rubber.
After a wet cold Friday, Le Mans greeted the lightweight class with a dry track on Friday, although the temperature was still not particularly impressive. Regardless, the improved conditions saw improved laptimes across the board from the very beginning of FP3. Gabriel Rodrigo was the early leader, keen to make an impression on the timesheets before sitting out the final 15 minutes of the session through a penalty earned in Barcelona.
"It was a very tricky day in Le Mans, like always," was the verdict of Fabio Quartararo on Friday evening, after a wet morning session and afternoon practice on a track which was rapidly drying, but never quite dry. He spoke for just about everyone, the track proving especially treacherous in the afternoon, ending FP2 almost completely dry with a few damp patches, enough to catch a few riders out, including Aprilia's Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro, Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, KTM rookie Brad Binder, and the LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami.
Most were just harmless falls, the front washing out on a damp patch, but Bradley Smith found himself propelled into the air when the traction control on his Aprilia RS-GP couldn't react quickly enough to the rear spinning up when he hit a damp patch on track. "I was feeling alright this afternoon, the wet patches were quite scary," he said. "I felt like I was managing the situation quite good but just got caught out by that one. TC didn’t catch me in time! And down I went."
The Moto3 class got some dry running to close the action on Friday and Mike Di Meglio enjoyed some time in the limelight as he finished the day fastest, although only half a tenth ahead of early session leader Alex de Angelis. Mattia Casadei was another two tenths back, while Xavier Simeon and Matteo Ferrari completed the top five. Niccolo Canepa, Josh Hook, Jordi Torres and Niki Tuuli also finished within a second of the leader, with Dominique Aegerter rounding out the top ten.
Although still on the chilly side, the Le Mans circuit had dried up nicely in time for the Moto2 show and it allowed the times to become more competitive. However, there was a bit of early drama as championship leader Luca Marini suffered a spectacular highside at turn 5, prompting a red flag for track clean-up. The Italian limped away and worryingly missed the remainder of the session as he visited the medical centre and then the local hospital with a suspected ankle injury.
With the track hinting at a dry line, rain flags started waving once more just as the countdown was preparing to come on for MotoGP FP2. Not many were keen to test the conditions early on, with only a handful of lap times on the board, but then Jack Miller decided to spice things up 15 minutes into the session, by going out with soft slick tyres and riding around three seconds faster than the wet tyre lot. That tempted several rivals to follow his example but it took a while for the Australian’s top time to be challenged.
After a soaking wet morning in Le Mans, FP2 greeted riders with a drying surface but not everyone was in a rush to test out the conditions. That allowed some new names to take the limelight with the likes of Carlos Tatay and Khairul Idham Pawi briefly holding onto top spot but it was Filip Salac who thrived most in the changing conditions to top FP2 in its closing stages. The Czech rider demoted Romano Fenati to second by four hundredths of a second, while John McPhee secured third, half a second off the lead after only joining the final half of the session.
The first practice session of the MotoE class was slow to get started in the wet conditions of Le Mans but once the action got underway, it was Josh Hook who spent most time at the top of the timesheets. It wasn’t until the final couple of minutes that the lead changed hands, Alex de Angelis going nearly half a second faster than his rivals. He was followed by Xavier Simeon and new championship leader Matteo Ferrari. Xavi Cardelus and Niccolo Canepa rounded out the top five, while Hook dropped to sixth, one second down on the new leader.