Today saw the MotoGP riders take to the track for the first two practice sessions for this weekends Monster Energy Grand Prix De France, and it was business as usual at the front, with Honda powered machines topping both sessions, led by Casey Stoner on the factory Repsol machine. Stoner led the satellite rider Marco Simoncelli into 2nd on the San Carlo Honda Gresini, ahead of Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa, who was the only rider not to improve his time in the second session.
The leading Ducati of Nicky Hayden popped up as a surprise in 4th, having placed 8th in the first session. It was originally thought that Le Mans would be a strong Ducati circuit as they are good under braking, however the next closest Ducati was team-mate Valentino Rossi in 9th.
Jorge Lorenzo couldn’t shift his Yamaha out of 5th place in either session, followed by Andrea Dovizioso on the third Repsol Honda in 6th, a disappointment after claiming 3rd place in the first session. Colin Edwards continued his run of form by claiming 7th on the lead Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine, the home grand prix for the team.
Hiroshi Aoyama claimed 8th, a massive improvement from 13th in the first session on the second San Carlo Honda Gresni and the top ten was rounded out by Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who like Lorenzo, could not improve on his 10th place in either session.
Randy De Puniet continues Pramac Ducati‘s development with 11th on the combined timesheet followed by Cal Crutchlow on the second Monster Yamaha Tech3. The Brit was 9th in the first session, but whilst looking to improve, he fell in the final 5 minutes of the session. Crutchlow was in the middle of a Pramac sandwich, with Loris Capirossi on the second machine just behind.
Hector Barbera was a disapointing 14th on the Mapfre Aspar Ducati followed by the ever recovering Ãlvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki in 15th. Toni Elias claimed 16th on the LCR Honda, with Karel Abraham propping up the timesheet in a less than spectacular 17th on the Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati.