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MotoGP 2016: Round 5 preview - France

Next stop Le Mans, and while it's not an endurance race, we could see another war of attrition.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

First off, apologies for the absence of a recap post-Jerez. I'm still not back at work but I've got a little bit more focus, so I'm back in the game for the weekend. Thanks to Phil for covering for me.

Now, the important stuff.

All three classes look like they're going to be fun this year. Four different winners in four races in the smaller classes, and three winners in four in GP. It's going to come down to consistency, rather than anyone running away. It's exciting. No, seriously.

The circuit

It isn't the far-reaching track that the 24 hours race goes around, but it does take part of it in. It's a race track in its own right, and while it's not as famous, it is a decent track.

We get the big Dunlop tyre to go under, which is what's truly important, and part of the reason I miss Donington Park.

In the news

We are not getting a 24-rider grid next year. Three teams applied for the last grid slot, but apparently none of the manufacturers were willing to supply another machine, which is lovely and useful and GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER. We'll try again for 2018.

One man who WILL be in MotoGP next year is Sam Lowes. The current Moto2 championship leader has a deal to ride for Aprilia next year, and aims to be testing on the bike by the end of June. Apparently Marc Marquez was asking him about his riding style in Jerez - the sliding the back end in technique that is usually Marquez's calling card.

Another 2017 certainty is Maverick Viñales, but which bike he'll be on is a different story. There's a concrete offer on the table from Yamaha, but according to rumour they may have lowballed him, with a better offer available from Suzuki. He did, however, say this. (source as always, Crash.net)

"For sure. For sure it makes me think, no? Because when you see [Yamaha] first-second and me and Aleix are fifth and sixth, you think a little bit. But I trust Suzuki and I trust that still they can show me the results."

Interesting note: if Maverick turns them down, Yamaha could make a move for Dani Pedrosa. That would be lovely.

One feature that may be missing next year could be wings. The option of choice for the Ducatis and Jorge Lorenzo, there are calls for them to be banned, under the pretence of safety. Marc Marquez claims that some riders have been lucky that bikes that have crashed either didn't have wings, or only had small ones that didn't do any damage. This, despite him testing at Jerez with six wings on his bike. Yup.

Anyway, Dorna are still planning to make a decision on them by the end of the season, basing their decision of safety and cost. I can sort of see the point on safety, because Ducati's wings are big enough to take someone's head off, but there could be a future for them if the Aprilia model was used - theirs are tiny, and mostly on the front of the bike. The cost argument is null and void if Gresini can afford to put them on the Aprilia.

Finally, welcome back Danilo Petrucci to the grid. The Italian has recovered from his broken hand, and will take the reins of his Pramac Ducati back from Michele Pirro.

Race times

BST Session MotoGP Moto2 Moto3
Fri FP1 08:55-09:40 09:55-10:40 08:00-08:40
FP2 13:05-13:50 14:05-14:50 12:10-12:50
Sat FP3 08:55-09:40 09:55-10:40 08:00-08:40
FP4 12:30-13:00 N/A N/A
Q1 13:10-13:25 14:05-14:50 11:35-12:15
Q2 13:35-13:50 N/A N/A
Sun WUP 08:40-09:00 08:10-08:30 07:40-08:00
Race 13:00 11:20 10:00