Home favourite Fabio Quartararo made light of the tricky changeable conditions and his recent surgery to claim pole for the French MotoGP in Saturday qualifying at Le Mans.
With intermittent rain making life difficult at the Bugatti circuit Quartararo topped the timesheets from his Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales with Ducati’s Jack Miller completing the front row.
Quartararo’s pole grab comes just 11 days after undergoing ‘arm pump’ surgery following problems with his right forearm, which saw him slip to a 13th place finish last time out at Jerez.
“It’s fantastic,” beamed the 22-year-old.
“I’m pleased to be on pole for the second successive time here.”
The Frenchman had started the Spanish MotoGP last time out at the top of the standings. He surged into an early lead and seemed set for his third win in four races this season. But muscle problems left him with no strength in his right forearm to finish down the pack and in tears.
He is placed two points off the top of the standings which are led by Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati).
Both Bagnaia and the reigning world champion Joan Mir failed to make it out of Q1 and into Q2 and the battle for pole, leaving the pair well down the grid for Sunday’s race.
Franco Morbidelli on Yamaha’s satellite SRT bike is on the second row after posting the fourth quickest time in Q2 alongside the other home chance Johann Zarco and six-time world champion Marc Marquez.
Marquez, back this season after multiple operations on the arm he broke in the opening race of last year, led for much of qualifying before his time was bettered in the closing flying lap.