Although rain had threatened for part of the day, conditions were quite good for the first two free-practice sessions of the French Grand Prix, in which Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden put their Desmosedici GP13 machines into the seventh and eighth positions, respectively, in the combined times.
The two Ducati Team riders had finished the morning session in the top five, although it took them until the latter stages of the afternoon outing to lower their times. The gaps between the riders were quite small, with just over a second separating the top ten; Dovizioso and Hayden were .54 and .56 seconds from the leader Dani Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 7th (1:34.578)
“I’m pleased because we’re closer than we have been at the other tracks with our fastest lap, but especially our pace. I managed to do my best time on the final lap of my long run, which is nice. We’re pretty good with the setup, and although we still have to work on the details, I’m happy to be so close.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 8th (1:34.590)
“The start to the weekend has been a little more positive than at some of the other races. In the morning we were making good steps in each exit, although not as much in the afternoon. Our lap time was pretty good, but it didn’t come easily, so we need to make the bike calmer in order to be more consistent. We do have some good sections, especially the second sector, but we have to improve on change of direction in the tighter areas. We’ll see what the weather does tomorrow; today could well be some of the only dry track time we get before the race.”