French MotoGP: Miller dominates damp opening practice

Ducati's Jack Miller dominated a damp first practice for the MotoGP French Grand Prix having gambled on a slick-tyre lap late on.

Listen to this article

The Le Mans weekend is set to be disrupted by wet weather for the duration of the three days, with the opening session taking place in damp conditions.

That meant laptimes were improved significantly across the opening stages, with Spanish Grand Prix winner Miller annexing top spot at the start of FP1.

The Ducati rider set the initial pace with a 1m47.320s, which he would improve over the next few tours to a 1m43.312s.

A few moments later, KTM's Miguel Oliveira took over from Miller with a 1m42.824s, before Honda's Marc Marquez moved clear with a 1m42.037s.

At the same time reigning world champion Joan Mir edged ahead with a 1m41.854s, having had to grab his second bike when his other Suzuki sounded an alarm at Turn 8 15 minutes into FP1.

Johann Zarco moved ahead of Mir on his Pramac Ducati with a 1m41.631s, demoting Miller again moments later with a 1m40.796s, which he followed up with a 1m40.398s.

With dry lines appearing on track, Miller gambled on slicks in the final 12 minutes along with LCR's Alex Marquez.

Marquez's effort ended at Turn 3 with seven minutes remaining when he crashed, but Miller was able to jump up to second with a 1m40.407s.

And on his following tour, the Ducati rider monstered the field by 2.3s with a 1m38.007s, timing this lap to perfection as spots of rain returned.

This forced the field back onto wet tyres to close out the session, with a number of late improvements shuffling the provisional Q2 order for Saturday inside the top 10.

Zarco cut Miller's advantage down to a still sizable 1.4s with a final effort of 1m39.488s, with Mir completing the top three ahead of factory Honda duo Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez.

Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori was an impressive sixth on the RS-GP, with the rookie armed with some experience of wet conditions in MotoGP from last year's European GP weekend.

Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia on the sister factory Ducati was seventh, with Oliveira, Suzuki's Alex Rins and the other Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro completing the top 10.

Should the weather worsen across the rest of Friday and Saturday morning, Yamaha face having all four of its riders going through Q1 as none of them made it into the top 10 in FP1.

Maverick Vinales was fastest Yamaha rider in 12th having crashed late on, with Petronas SRT duo Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi trailing him.

Fresh from arm-pump surgery after the Jerez race, home favourite Fabio Quartararo was 3.6s off the pace in 16th.

Last year's wet French GP race winner Danilo Petrucci was a low-key 19th on the Tech3 KTM.

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 14 1'38.007  
2 France Johann Zarco Ducati 18 1'39.488 1.481
3 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 13 1'40.069 2.062
4 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 16 1'40.115 2.108
5 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 18 1'40.121 2.114
6 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 18 1'40.244 2.237
7 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 22 1'40.256 2.249
8 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 16 1'40.582 2.575
9 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 16 1'40.679 2.672
10 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 14 1'41.029 3.022
11 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 19 1'41.258 3.251
12 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 14 1'41.299 3.292
13 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 21 1'41.423 3.416
14 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 20 1'41.524 3.517
15 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 17 1'41.576 3.569
16 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 21 1'41.641 3.634
17 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 18 1'42.500 4.493
18 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 19 1'42.899 4.892
19 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 12 1'43.045 5.038
20 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 18 1'43.262 5.255
21 Spain Tito Rabat Ducati 21 1'43.469 5.462
22 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 16 1'43.644 5.637
shares
comments

Related video

MotoGP adds second Austria race as Finnish GP cancelled
Previous article

MotoGP adds second Austria race as Finnish GP cancelled

Next article

Vinales outlines key area of improvement for Yamaha in MotoGP

Vinales outlines key area of improvement for Yamaha in MotoGP
Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Prime

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Prime

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems Prime

Why new MotoGP champion Bagnaia has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Prime

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Prime

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Prime

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia.

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022
Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future Prime

Why Yamaha has just six months to safeguard Quartararo's future

Yamaha's decision to dispense pre-season with the 2022 engine it had intended to use due to lack of reliability, the promises of improvement to Fabio Quartararo and the advance with which the rider market moves leaves the Japanese brand with less than six months to prevent the Frenchman from starting to look for a way out

MotoGP
Oct 28, 2022
The war brewing as Ducati nears its ultimate MotoGP prize Prime

The war brewing as Ducati nears its ultimate MotoGP prize

OPINION: Francesco Bagnaia has put one hand firmly on the 2022 MotoGP world title after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix, and the permutations are weighted heavily in his favour heading to the Valencia finale. But as Ducati stands on the cusp of something it has longed for since 2007, the Sepang race also hinted towards a future problem…

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2022