Lorenzo, on the Factory YZR-M1, was less than a tenth of a second outside Dani Pedrosa's lap record set last year with a 1'42.422 while his fellow Spaniard was just 0.023s behind while Crutchlow was a mere 0.047s behind the Repsol Honda man.
Pedrosa and Lorenzo spent the final couple of laps following each other, trying to see who was faster where but they were still setting mid-1'42s laps even while playing cat and mouse.
All three of the top laps were set mid-way through the session while fourth-placed man Valentino Rossi, on the second works M1, set his 1'42.861 on lap nine of 20 with the top men using Bridgestone softer option front and rear tyres while the track temperature was relatively cold.
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso once again showed the GP13's pace over a single lap, setting a 1'43.111 to bag fifth place by 0.001s from auld enemy Alvaro Bautista, who lobbed his Go&Fun Honda at session end, losing the front into turn one.
Stefan Bradl, on the LCR Honda, was seventh and three-quarters of a second off the pace and one place ahead of Nicky Hayden and Marc Marquez in ninth who is 1.2s slower than team-mate Pedrosa on home soil.
Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top ten and was easily the fastest CRT rider, lapping in 1'43.814, to stay ahead of Andrea Iannone, Bradley Smith and Michele Pirro, all on prototypes. Smith had the wire in his thumb removed by Dr Costa yesterday, using no painkillers and a set of pliers, followed by some painkillers and the same pliers.
Randy De Puniet and Colin Edwards were second and third in the CRT battle while Michael Laverty, who had to be flown in on team boss Paul Bird's private jet due to the French air traffic control strike, was 22nd but only 4.3s off the pace.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Dani Pedrosa
- Repsol Honda
- Valentino Rossi