abio Quartararo issued his calling card in the first free practice session for the French Grand Prix on Friday morning. The 20-year-old Frenchman led both Ducati factory drivers in the first free practice, a 1.31.986 led him.
The weather forecasts for the MotoGP Grand Prix of France were not very good prior to the weekend and that it was dry on Friday morning during the first training session came as a pleasant surprise for the drivers. It also immediately emphasized the importance of the first free training, possibly the only one in dry conditions. Placement for Q1 was therefore immediately possible and the drivers were aware of this.
By the end of the session, most drivers fitted a set of the softest Michelin tires to drive a good run for placement in Q2. Quartararo ultimately did that best by driving a 1.31.986 shortly before the end of the session. With that he was ahead of the rest of the field and the Petronas Yamaha SRT was again in the lead in a MotoGP session.
Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci tried to make an improvement in the remainder of the session, but their attempt proved in vain. Dovizioso came in second place two tenths from Quartararo, Petrucci narrowly finished in third place. Maverick Viñales finished fourth after a good session, Marc Marquez rode the entire session on the same set of tires and scored fifth. The moment halfway through the first session was striking. Marquez seemed to be knocked down in Garage Vert, but with a miraculous rescue remained standing.
Pol Espargaro started the weekend well with a sixth time, Jack miller opened with a seventh time for Joan Mir. Johann Zarco also reached the top ten in the first training session for his home race. He became ninth out of seven tenths of countryman Quartararo.
Valentino Rossi was hit by a technical problem in the first session of the weekend. The Italian was fast on his way when the chain on his M1 broke and the driver stopped as a result. Rossi, however, came to tenth time and a provisional place in Q2.
That could not be said of Cal Crutchlow, he was eleventh for Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia. For Jorge Lorenzo, who finished fourteenth, the weekend started again with a disappointment. Early in the first training Lorenzo went too far when sending in Garage Vert (turn 8) and landed on the curb stones on the outside of the turn. There the grip under the wheels of the Spaniard disappeared, causing him to fall. The driver returned to the pit box by scooter, causing him to lose valuable time in the first session of the weekend.