2015 Le Mans MotoGP Friday Practice Results
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith wasn’t too quick during Friday’s opening free practice for round five of 2015 MotoGP at Le Mans in France.
The 23-year-old Brit finished the FP1 leader-board in 10th, 0.695 of a second behind the leader, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
But his speed changed drastically in the second and final Le Mans MotoGP Friday practice session. Smith piloted his satellite Monster Tech3 Yamaha YZR-M1 prototype to a 1:33.179 around one of the tightest circuit in 2015 MotoGP, earning the provisional pole for Sunday’s 28-lap race.
To put this time into perspective, the Circuit Record (held under race conditions) is a 1:33.548, which was set by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez last year en route to his second MotoGP title.
Smith took the top time on his 18th of 19 laps, and finished 0.190 of a second ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, who earned his first win two weekends ago at Jerez.
Despite crashing at the circuit final corner – Turn 13 – during the end of practice, he’s motivated for a top performance at the French GP.
“Today was a great start to the weekend and I’m delighted to finish in first on the opening day in Le Mans at the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix, which is also sponsored by Monster Energy. The team and I did a top job in the Jerez test where we made considerable steps forward with the front forks and the electronic settings,” Smith says.
“Moreover, we made consistent progress from the word go today and I must say that I feel much more comfortable here when compared to last year which was a tough weekend for me. I unfortunately fell in the final moments of the session but I don’t consider it to be my fault. Aleix (Espargaro, Suzuki ECSTAR Team) went down in front of me so I got distracted and ran wide and then went onto the dirt and rode over a rock which caused the crash. This is annoying, but nevertheless it’s certainly super to finish the opening day at the top of the field and I’m fired up for the rest of the weekend.”
Lorenzo was second quickest at the track that caters to Yamaha YZR-M1 machinery. The two-time MotoGP Champion finished ahead of FP1 leader Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP15. Dovi, who finished 0.374 of a second behind Smith, has some extra incentive considering Ducati never has won a race at Le Mans.
The top-five at Le Mans MotoGP Friday practice were all within a half-second of each other; CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow ended the day fourth, 0.473 of a second behind Smith, with Marquez fifth fastest, 0.491 of a second off the pace.
Marquez, who broke his finger ahead of Jerez during a dirt-track training accident, had electrical issues aboard his Repsol Honda RC213V in the beginning of the session, and was forced to walk back to the pits. He spent some of the day testing different solutions on his bike, also, such as the swingarm that debuted at the one-day Jerez test.
The current championship leader – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi – finished sixth fastest, 0.507 of a second off the pace. Rossi, who leads Dovizioso by 15 points, finished just ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who returns to the grid following a three-race hiatus due to arm-pump surgery.
Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Pol Espargaro, Pol’s brother Aleix on the Team ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-RR, and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Yonny Hernandez.
Dovizioso’s Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone finished 11th – respectable considering he dislocated his shoulder during some private testing at Mugello on Tuesday.
Australian Jack Miller (CWM-LCR Honda) was the first Open class bike on the combined free practice times today, with a 13th position.
As for the sole American in MotoGP, Apsar MotoGP Team Honad’s Nicky Hayden finished the day in 17th, 1.484 of a second off the pace.
For additional information, visit 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Preview.