Jack Miller is pleased at his prospects of making Qualifying 2 having set the fastest Friday practice lap in changeable conditions at the French MotoGP.
The Pramac Ducati rider is well-placed to earn a bye for the first stanza of qualifying given his 1:34.356s on a drying Le Mans track in Free Practice 2 was the fastest time on the opening day of the grand prix.
The earlier MotoGP session was held in wet conditions while better weather could be on the way for FP3, a point highlighted by Miller.
“I think it’s going to be quite important because here in Le Mans, as we know, the weather forecast says maybe tomorrow morning (FP3) will be dry – it’ll be cold but dry – but around here there’s no point really looking at that,” said the Australian.
“So, just to get something in the bank (will) hopefully carry us through to Q2 but we’ll have to and see what the track’s like in the morning.”
While Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) went early on a slick in FP2, he set only one flying lap before reverting to wets.
Miller was therefore the first to make a slick work, getting down to a 1:36.432s on his first proper run and reclaiming top spot from Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha), then with a 1:34.566s, in the final minutes of the session.
“I felt relatively good out in those conditions,” recounted the Ducati rider.
“I just went quickly out on the used set of wets just to understand the track, on the dry bike. We’re so limited on the number of softs we have this weekend, both front and rear, and with the temperature we’ve got, it’s going to be very hard to run anything other than the soft front, soft rear combo.
“I just tried to understand the track. I saw it was semi-dry – there was a dry line, there was a bit of drizzle about – so I was like, ‘I need to get out there now’.
“Thankfully it didn’t really rain for the rest of the session. It was a little bit of drizzle on maybe my third lap on the slicks, but then it was no more.
“I did some decent laps (then) sat in the box for a bit (and) watched the other boys go around. The track seemed to be in a better condition so I went out there at the end, like last 10 minutes, and was able to do a few laps.
“I had a little bit of traffic but nonetheless happy to, first of all, stay on two wheels, and semi-happy with the lap time.”
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha) ended up second, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team).
FP3 starts at 18:55 AEDT before FP4 at 22:30 and the two qualifying sessions just after.