Even a crash during Q2 couldn’t stop Marc Marquez from claiming his third pole position from five races, teammate Lorenzo taking a season-best eighth.
Wet and cold conditions, the track just 14°C and a brisk air temperature of 12°C, provided a gloomy welcome to the Le Mans circuit for Saturday’s running. Both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo remained competitive, finishing second and seventh respectively.
Conditions remained equally treacherous in FP4, Marquez suffering a harmless fall at Turn 9 early in the session. The reigning World Champion went on to set the fastest time of the session, completely unphased by the off.
Rain returned to the 4.2 km long Le Mans circuit the same moment as pit lane opened for Q2. A second fall of the day, this time at Turn 6, after setting his fastest lap could not stop Marquez taking pole position for the French GP, his third pole from five races. Marquez’s 55th premier class pole draws him level with Valentino Rossi and just three behind Mick Doohan’s record 58 premier class poles.
Saturday in France presented Jorge Lorenzo with new conditions to learn on the Honda RC213V. Lorenzo and his Repsol Honda Team crew were able to adapt well, getting faster with each lap and claiming eighth place on the grid for Sunday’s race – his best grid position of the year. The result continues Lorenzo’s steady improvements over the course of the French GP.
Tomorrow’s 27-lap French Grand Prix will take place at 14:00 local time, the weather forecast remaining unpredictable. The race presents Honda with the first opportunity to seal their 300th premier class victory.
“Today was one of those days! The conditions meant you didn’t know if a slick or a wet tyre would be best with the light rain, it was really difficult. In Qualifying we knew we had to push on the first lap when there was the least water on track. Then with more water on track it got more difficult. I’m happy with this pole because it was a day where you could easily start from the back if you weren’t careful. Now we see what the weather does tomorrow!”
“Very tricky conditions, especially in Qualifying today. There was one sector where it was full wet with no grip and then the others were almost dry – it was tough to stay on the bike. We could have made the front two rows I think but I chose to use the soft tyre first and the medium second, with the medium first I think we could have achieved more. But we have achieved our best position of the year, that’s the positive.”
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