Le Mans MotoGP: Miller sets FP2 pace in tricky conditions

Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller ended second practice for the MotoGP French Grand Prix fastest of all as the tricky conditions led to a number of crashes late on.

Le Mans MotoGP: Miller sets FP2 pace in tricky conditions

Spots of rain just before the session was given the green light meant only a handful of riders, including Joan Mir on the Suzuki, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Miller, headed out on circuit. 

Rossi had opted straight away for a slick medium rear tyre, but quickly aborted the run after his best flying lap was some 3.7 seconds slower than Mir’s wet-shod effort of 1m43.515s.

Johann Zarco soon took over top spot with a 1m41.811s, while several more who’d fitted slick tyres early on bailed out to switch to wets. 

However, Miller went in the opposite direction and began lighting up the timing screen once he’d gotten his soft slicks up to temperature.

With 15 minutes of the session gone, Miller deposed Zarco – who was now sitting on a 1m40.943s – with a 1m39.29s, which he improved to a 1m36.432s two laps later.

Miller’s times forced more into giving the slicks a try, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami setting the pace at 1m36.320s with 15 minutes remaining. 

A flurry of fastest laps meant Alex Rins on the Suzuki and Nakagami traded top spot, with the Honda rider seizing control with just under 10 minutes of the session remaining with a 1m35.612s.

Nakagami’s charge came to an end just as the chequered flag came out when he slid off his RC213V at the Blue Esses section at Turn 11.

The tricky conditions caught out several riders in the closing stages, with the Aprilias of Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and KTM’s Brad Binder all suffering crashes.

Miller’s final effort of 1m34.133s put him 0.367s clear of the field to end FP2 top ahead of Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Nakagami.

Zarco was fourth after suffering some form of technical issue on his Avintia Ducati earlier in the session, while Rossi and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci completed the top six.

Cal Crutchlow was seventh on his LCR Honda having been top briefly in the closing stages, with works Honda rider Alex Marquez, Petronas’ Franco Morbidelli and the KTM of Pol Espargaro rounding out the top 10. 

Should any rain arrive for Saturday’s FP3 session, the Suzuki’s of Mir and Rins, as well as championship leader Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha may face Q1 having missed the top 10 in FP2.

Dovizioso’s late crash at the Dunlop chicane meant he could only muster 19th on the timesheets.

FP2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 1'34.133
2 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 1'34.500 0.367
3 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 1'34.857 0.724
4 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 1'34.952 0.819
5 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 1'35.012 0.879
6 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 1'35.054 0.921
7 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 1'35.141 1.008
8 Spain Alex Marquez
Honda 1'35.337 1.204
9 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 1'35.369 1.236
10 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 1'35.374 1.241
11 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 1'35.375 1.242
12 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 1'35.385 1.252
13 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 1'35.489 1.356
14 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
KTM 1'35.837 1.704
15 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 1'36.012 1.879
16 Spain Iker Lecuona
KTM 1'36.190 2.057
17 Germany Stefan Bradl
Honda 1'36.478 2.345
18 United Kingdom Bradley Smith
Aprilia 1'36.982 2.849
19 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 1'38.726 4.593
20 Spain Tito Rabat
Ducati 1'39.325 5.192
21 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 1'39.361 5.228
22 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 1'40.425 6.292
 
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