Reigning Top 14 champion Clermont Auvergne bounced back from its thrashing at La Rochelle last weekend with a 62-6 victory over bottom club Brive.
After lifting the 2016-17 crown three months ago it has been a mixed start for Clermont this season with only one win – against Toulon – from its opening three matches.
It was humbled 51-20 by La Rochelle last time out but Franck Azema got just the reaction he would have been looking for as his side eased to a bonus-point win.
The triumph – inspired by a hat-trick from Alivereti Raka – lifted Clermont back towards the top of the fledgling table but just shy of the top six.
Montpellier, which plays Toulon on Monday (AEST), continues to lead the way but Lyon and La Rochelle are both just one point adrift after recording their third wins of the season.
A comprehensive 49-14 victory over Bordeaux Begles gives Lyon the slight edge on points difference, Lionel Beauxis starring with 24 points of his own at the Stade Gerland.
La Rochelle, which topped the end of season table in 2016-2017 before losing in the semi-finals, look well poised again after a narrow 20-15 success over Agen.
It was a match dominated by La Rochelle but a solid defensive display from Agen denied its opponent the bonus point that would have taken it level with Montpellier.
Toulouse is a further point back after it ran in seven tries on the way to a 53-17 hammering of Stade Francais, Thomas Ramos crossing twice and Cheslin Kolbe continuing his rich vein of form.
Just below the revitalised Clermont are Pau after its 28-13 triumph over Castres Olympique, a Watisoni Votu double helping secure back-to-back wins for Simon Mannix's side.