Ducati duo upbeat despite Le Mans crashes

Jack Miller

Factory Ducati riders Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia were upbeat at the end of Friday at the French Grand Prix despite both suffering crashes.

The pair ended the day in seventh and 12th respectively on combined times from Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2.

Riding on the Bugatti Circuit at Circuit de la Sarthe, Friday brought mixed conditions.

The morning’s first practice started in damp conditions and low temperatures. Miller topped the session as a dry line formed late in proceedings.

Johann Zarco would top the timesheets at the end of the first day, clocking a 1:31.747s for Ducati satellite outfit Pramac Racing.

Factory Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales were second and third while Pol Espargaro led the way for the factory Honda team in fourth.

Franco Morbidelli completed the top five on the satellite Yamaha while factory KTM rider Miguel Oliveira was sixth just ahead of Miller.

“I’m satisfied to be in the top 10,” said Miller, who ended the day 0.6s off Zarco.

“The track conditions today were quite tricky with the low temperatures, the rain and the wind.

“But it is normal here in Le Mans, and, luckily, we had at least one dry session this afternoon.

“Unfortunately, I crashed out in FP2, but I was pushing really hard and lost the front.

“Still, it wasn’t a bad day; we’ve learned a lot today, and I’m happy to be here at Le Mans, a track that I like a lot and where I always have a lot of fun riding on.”

Marc Marquez (Honda), Valentino Rossi (Yamaha SRT), and Takaaki Nakagam (LCR Honda) completed the top 10 running order at the end of Friday’s practice.

Bagnaia, who sat just behind Suzuki rider Alex Rins, ended the day almost exactly one second away from Zarco.

He too was satisfied with Friday’s running, despite suffering a crash.

“Despite the crash this afternoon, today’s two sessions were very productive, and my feeling with the bike is positive,” said the Italian.

“This morning in FP1, I was able to feel really comfortable with the Desmosedici despite the wet conditions, and this afternoon, we were also able to get a good time on the medium tyre.

“We’re outside of the top ten, but if the weather conditions allow us, we’ll definitely try to improve and get directly into Q2. I’m confident ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Qualifying for the French Grand Prix gets underway tonight at 22:10 AEST.

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