Casey Stoner maintained his fine form at Le Mans by topping MotoGP's second practice session ahead of the French Grand Prix.
The reigning champion also went fastest in the opening session, the first since he made the surprise announcement that he would retire at the end of the 2012 season. He found more than half a second on his morning performance, as he twice dipped under the 1m34s mark – the only rider to do so. His eventual benchmark of 1m33.740s put him over a quarter of a second clear of the field.
Once again it was his works Honda stablemate Dani Pedrosa who came closest to depriving Stoner of top spot. The Spaniard had been fastest for the majority of the session before Stoner's late double eight minutes from the end.
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was the only other rider to get within half a second of Stoner. The Spaniard did however set his best time almost immediately after the session opened.
Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista climbed into the top four in the final 20 minutes and remained there despite a late improvement from Yamaha's Ben Spies, who ended three hundredths of a second down the road in fifth. Tech 3's two satellite Yamahas were next up, with Andrea Dovizioso just edging Cal Crutchlow for sixth.
The satellite Pramac Ducati of Hector Barbera meanwhile beat the two works GP12s of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden to eighth. All three riders finished within 0.06s of each other.
As was the case in first practice, Aspar's Randy de Puniet was fastest of the CRT entries in 13th.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m33.740s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m34.005s + 0.265s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m34.136s + 0.396s
4. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m34.437s + 0.697s
5. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m34.467s + 0.727s
6. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 1m34.585s + 0.845s
7. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m34.610s + 0.870s
8. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 1m35.079s + 1.339s
9. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m35.112s + 1.372s
10. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m35.132s + 1.392s
11. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m35.201s + 1.461s
12. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m35.787s + 2.047s
13. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m36.438s + 2.698s
14. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m36.928s + 3.188s
15. Mattia Pasini Speed Master Aprilia 1m37.093s + 3.353s
16. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 1m37.310s + 3.570s
17. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m37.585s + 3.845s
18. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Aprilia 1m38.255s + 4.515s
19. Ivan Silva Avintia Inmotec-Kawasaki 1m38.260s + 4.520s
20. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 1m38.395s + 4.655s
21. Chris Vermeulen Forward Suter-BMW 1m39.383s + 5.643s