Bradley Smith gave Monster Yamaha Tech 3 the dream start to their home Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in Friday practice ahead of the French Grand Prix. The Briton lapped quicker than Marc Marquez’s current circuit record to top the standings, leading the in-form Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Looking to bounce back from the disappointment of Jerez, Dovizioso set a brisk pace in the morning session and immediately improved on his own benchmark early in FP2. Within minutes, the Italian had been replaced at the top of the leaderboard by Lorenzo’s Yamaha and as the field focussed on race preparation, it looked as though Jorge’s time wouldn’t be beaten.
That all changed with five minutes remaining though as Smith embarked on his final run, first climbing above Marquez into third, before clocking a 1:33.179 next time around to pull out two tenths on Lorenzo. His place at the top of the standings looked under threat two minutes from time when the Oxfordshire rider tumbled at the final corner although several others were also having issues, including the Espargaro brothers, and he remained unbeaten.
Lorenzo and Dovizioso completed the top three with Cal Crutchlow edging out Marquez for fourth while Valentino Rossi finished sixth, 0.016s down on his chief title rival. The returning Dani Pedrosa was back on the pace in seventh ahead of Pol Espargaro on the second Tech 3 Yamaha and Aleix Espargaro on the leading Suzuki.
2015 MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE – FRIDAY CLASSIFICATION
|1||38. Bradley Smith||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:33.179|
|2||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:33.369|
|3||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:33.553|
|4||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:33.652|
|5||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:33.670|
|6||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:33.686|
|7||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:33.725|
|8||44. Pol Espargaro||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:33.903|
|9||41. Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:33.944|
|10||68. Yonny Hernandez||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:33.953|
|11||29. Andrea Iannone||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:34.092|
|12||25. Maverick Vinales||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:34.110|
|13||43. Jack Miller||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:34.253|
|14||45. Scott Redding||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:34.371|
|15||6. Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:34.543|
|16||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:34.568|
|17||69. Nicky Hayden||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:34.663|
|18||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:34.745|
|19||76. Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:35.002|
|20||63. Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:35.067|
|21||17. Karel Abraham||Honda||AB Motoracing||1:35.090|
|22||19. Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:35.137|
|23||50. Eugene Laverty||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:35.182|
|24||15. Alex de Angelis||ART||Octo IodaRacing Team||1:35.802|
|25||33. Marco Melandri||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:36.056|