Jorge Lorenzo smashed the Le Mans MotoGP Lap record to put his Yamaha bike in pole position for the French Grand Prix, with his rivals helpless, left looking on as they struggled to get within half a second of the Spaniard.
Lorenzo was immediately on the pace from his first flying lap, posting the quickest time seen all weekend. His best, a 1m31.975s just under five-tenths quicker than second-placed Marc Marquez could manage for Honda.
Andrea Iannone fell while on his out lap. The Italian immediately sprinted back to the pits and jumped onto his second bike without so much as pause for breath, to finally go third quickest for Ducati.
Pol Espargaro will start Sunday’s French GP in fourth and as the leading independent team rider. Behind the Spaniard will be Andrea Dovizioso as Ducati were once again the only factory team with two bikes inside the top five.
Spanish GP winner Valentino Rossi was no match for his team-mate, finishing seventh quickest and eight-tenths down to start behind Yamaha satellite team rider Bradley Smith in sixth – his best qualifying result of the season.
Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) completed the top ten. Petrucci also suffering a fall during the session.
Another to crash was Honda's Dani Pedrosa. With just over eight minutes of the session remaining he quickly returned to the pits for his second machine. Fortunately for Pedrosa his experienced team were immediately ready with his second bike. He starts 11th.
Home rider Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) had a difficult day, struggling in Q1 and subsequently starting last on the grid for his home round.