Bagnaia and the Ducati Lenovo Team in second place at the end of Le Mans Practice. A crash for Bastianini, eleventh in practice

 

  • New outright lap for Jorge Martín aboard Pramac Racing Team’s Desmosedici GP in 1:30.388secs

The Ducati Lenovo Team has tackled today the opening day of action for the French Grand Prix, the fifth event of the 2024 MotoGP season, at Le Mans. Francesco Bagnaia completed the Practice session in second place, after being fifth quickest in the morning. Enea Bastianini, fourth in free practice, had a crash in the late stages of the afternoon session and was eventually eleventh at the chequered flag.

Bagnaia and his crew worked methodically on the set-up of the Desmosedici GP machine #1 with regards to both the longer distance and the time attack, as they tried different tyre combinations in the two sessions. With the lap-times being very tight together across the field – as it often happens at Le Mans – the last run of the practice session turned out to be key and, with a 1:30.533 lap-time, Pecco secured the direct access to tomorrow’s Q2, which will get underway at 11:15 local time (GMT +2).

After a promising fouth position in the morning free practice, Bastianini crashed uninjured in the second sector of the track, while he was trying to make his way back into the top ten. Despite the tumble, his current personal best time (1:30.798) saw him only 410 thousandths of a second shy of the top – and unfortunately only 0.010secs away from that top ten that would have granted him the direct seed to Q2. Enea will try to make amends tomorrow in qualifying 1 to be in the best possible position at the start of the sprint race, which will begin at 15:00.

Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 2nd
“This is the second weekend in a row in which we managed to get up to speed straight away. Since Jerez we found the right base to work on and that has helped me a lot to make sure I don’t have to catch up during the weekend. I felt good already from the morning session and we continued to perform well in the afternoon; we only did some fine tuning – it’s been a long time since I last was in this situation. I unfortunately made a small mistake in the second lap of the time attack, but I’m still happy. We needed a start like this one.”

Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 11th
“It’s a shame that we couldn’t finish in the top ten. I was forced to use the softer front-tyre option in the time attack as – contrary to the morning – I wasn’t comfortable with the medium compound – but things didn’t go as I’d hoped. It’s a pity because we had a good pace. We surely need to stay focused, work on the little details in order to improve some more and do our best in qualifying one.”