The opening practice kicked off the weekend and, after a deluge of rain during Friday morning’s Superbike practice, was held in wet but drying conditions. Lorenzo Baldassarri was quick out of the traps, taking over at the top of the standings on his ninth lap. However, as conditions continued to evolve, the former Moto2 star rounded the session out as top Yamaha in the third.
Conditions weren’t much better for Friday afternoon’s running. Damp patches and a drying surface provided a further challenge for the second session. Getting the session underway in wet conditions, the Magny-Cours circuit quickly dried, giving riders a chance to complete some much-needed dry laps.
The action was hot as the lap times tumbled throughout the remaining 20 minutes, with VFT Racing’s Kyle Smith leading the action up until a brief red flag due to debris at turn nine from an earlier fall for a competitor.
Returning to the track for a 15-minute dash, you couldn’t take your eyes away from the timing screens as the lap times continued to get faster. Ultimately it was GMT94 Yamaha’s Valentin Debis who conquered Friday at his home venue to lead by just 0.023 seconds, posting a 1:41.776 at his home venue.
Championship leader Dominique Aegerter had a tough start to the day’s proceedings on his Ten Kate Yamaha. Placing in 13th on Friday morning, the Swiss rider made the most of the late dry running to set a 1:41.915 – rounding the day out in third.
Returning to action this weekend, Jules Cluzel got his home round underway inside the top six with team-mate Andy Verdoia in ninth. Peter Sebestyen and Glenn van Straalen ended the day’s running in 14th and 16th places respectively.
bLUcRU Graduate Unai Orradre finished the day in 21st, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri suffered from a late fall in the second session which left him in 27th.
The action continues on Saturday for qualifying at 10:25 before the lights go out for race one at 15:15 local time.