Martin leads Acosta in opening practice

Martin comes into this weekend’s fifth round of the 2024 campaign 17 points clear in the standings after a crash out of the lead of the Spanish GP denied him the chance to move 47 out of reach.

Run under perfect conditions, the 45-minute FP1 session was led by the Pramac rider with a 1m31.421s lap set on a fresh soft rear tyre.

One of only a handful of riders to do so on FP1, Martin led the way by 0.237 seconds from Tech3 GasGas rookie Pedro Acosta.

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales completed the top three after a late time attack on a new medium rear, with Ducati’s Enea Bastianini fourth from world champion team-mate Framcesco Bagnaia.

Martin set the initial pace in FP1 with a 1m34.162s, before Marc Marquez on the Gresini Ducati took over with a 1m33.242s inside the first five minutes of the session.

Top spot would swap between Marquez, VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi, Bagnaia and Bastianini.

With 10 minutes of the session gone, Marquez stood top with a 1m31.971s, with Bastianini taking over with a 1m31.914s with 18 minutes to go.

The 2022 French GP winner would improve on this to a 1m31.837s, which was briefly toppled by a 1m31.637s from Acosta.

However, this was cancelled after the Tech3 rider exceeded track limits and it forced him to find a 1m31.658s to legitimately move to the top of the pile in the closing moments.

Electing to run a new soft rear tyre for the final few minutes, Martin lit up the timing screens and fired in a 1m31.421s to see out the session fastest of all.

Acosta held onto second, surviving a late scare at the Turn 6 right-hander when he tucked the front of his GasGas-branded KTM.

Vinales jumped up to third with a 1m31.678s, with Bastianini heading Bagnaia and Gresini’s Alex Marquez.

Aleix Espargaro was seventh on the second factory Aprilia from KTM’s Brad Binder, who crashed late on at Turn 11.

Marc Marquez and last year’s French GP winner Bezzecchi rounded out the top 10.

Alex Rins was the leading Yamaha in 13th as team-mate Fabio Quartararo was a low-key 20th at the start of his home round aboard the M1’s new chassis.

Johann Zarco opened up his home race as top Honda in 16th on the LCR bike, while the factory team duo of Joan Mir and Luca Marini occupied the final two spots.

MotoGP French GP — FP1 results:

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