Dani Pedrosa hung on at the top of the times in opening MotoGP practice at Le Mans despite a strong late challenge from Jorge Lorenzo.
Pedrosa's Honda had led the way for most of the morning, getting down to rapid flying laps quicker than anyone else and building an early cushion over the field.
When Lorenzo slipped his Yamaha ahead mid-session, Pedrosa immediately found more pace and put in a 1m34.645s to go four tenths clear. But in the closing minutes Lorenzo narrowed the gap considerably, first to 0.2 second and then just 0.004sec with his final lap.
Valentino Rossi completed the top three on the second Yamaha.
Ducati's weekend got off to a very encouraging start, with late runs from Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso getting both into the top five.
Championship leader Marc Marquez was in the top three for a while, but was pushed down to seventh behind Cal Crutchlow in the final minutes.
Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl were next up, while Hector Barbera again shone as he beat Aleix Espargaro to CRT honors and the final top-10 spot.
Ben Spies' stand-in Michele Pirro was down in 13th having had to switch to his spare Pramac Ducati due to a mechanical problem.
Conditions were dry and sunny, if cold, but rain is forecast for much of the weekend.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap Laps
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m34.645s 19
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m34.685s + 0.040s 16
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m34.938s + 0.293s 22
4. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m34.972s + 0.327s 19
5. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m35.072s + 0.427s 20
6. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m35.149s + 0.504s 20
7. Marc Marquez Honda 1m35.170s + 0.525s 19
8. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m35.285s + 0.640s 20
9. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m35.478s + 0.833s 20
10. Hector Barbera Avintia FTR 1m35.949s + 1.304s 21
11. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m36.083s + 1.438s 18
12. Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati 1m36.211s + 1.566s 18
13. Michele Pirro Ducati 1m36.607s + 1.962s 15
14. Randy De Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m36.745s + 2.100s 20
15. Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 1m36.790s + 2.145s 21
16. Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia FTR 1m36.872s + 2.227s 21
17. Claudio Corti Forward FTR 1m37.325s + 2.680s 19
18. Colin Edwards Forward FTR 1m37.431s + 2.786s 17
19. Yonny Hernandez Paul Bird Aprilia 1m37.597s + 2.952s 20
20. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter 1m37.620s + 2.975s 20
21. Karel Abraham Cardion Aprilia 1m38.209s + 3.564s 16
22. Bryan Staring Gresini FTR-Honda 1m38.516s + 3.871s 17
23. Michael Laverty Paul Bird PBM 1m39.325s + 4.680s 19
24. Lukas Pesek Ioda-Suter 1m39.710s + 5.065s 16