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Dovizioso sets the pace in free practice at Le-Mans

While the sun made a brief appearance in the morning, it was the rain that took centre stage this afternoon at Le Mans, not letting up for a moment. A wasted session then, with riders preferring not to take any risks and looking ahead to Saturday morning's FP3, with better weather forecast.

Despite the many unknowns, Andrea Dovizioso stood out, setting a best of 1’41”673, the reference for other riders. Enough to improve on his best of the morning, by two tenths, but not enough to place in the combined top ten.

The Italian's performance does confirm the red bike's potential in the wet, with three Ducatis placing in the top four. In the final stages, #4 could have improved further but an error in the final sector put paid to his attempt.

Inserted between the Ducatis is the Honda of Marc Marquez, just 0.043 from the front and followed by Danilo Petrucci (+0.233). Despite some issues early on, the Pramac rider proved to be competitive with the soft tyre, closing just 19 thousandths ahead of team-mate Redding. “Petrux” also ran out of fuel in the final stages.

The final minutes of FP2 also saw Andrea Iannone take a step forward to finish fifth, less than half a second from the leader (+0.405). The gaps then get bigger, with Alvaro Bautista already nine tenths back (+0.952).

Compared to the morning's session, none of the riders outside of the top ten was able to improve on the tenth time set in FP1 by Maverick Vinales in 1’41”307. In the afternoon, the Spaniard closed eighth, followed, surprisingly, by the Aprilia of Sam Lowes and Valentino Rossi. The Doctor was not chasing a top ten finish, having already achieved it in FP1.

While Dovizioso looks down from on high, Lorenzo is further back, fifteenth and more than two seconds behind (+2.603), followed by Guintoli and Rabat. Pedrosa was also off the pace, 21st and more than 4 seconds from the front. There was no point making a time attack in this session though, with riders instead sharpening their weapons ahead of FP3. So it's impossible to make any calculations as yet.

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