Front row for Zarco to round off 201507/11/2015
Ajo Motorsport rider takes definitive step forward in qualifying session and takes second on the grid for Sunday.
Johann Zarco took second place in qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix, making a major breakthrough in the afternoon session. The Frenchman had made improvements in the final free practice, but it was only in the grid-deciding run that he got up amongst the fastest riders of the weekend. Showing his best pace so far, the Ajo Motorsport rider clocked a 1:35.372 lap that gave him a front row start for the season finale. It is the thirteenth time he has been on the front row, from eighteen races.
With a setup for his Kalex quite different to that used yesterday, Johann Zarco took less than half of the FP3 session to lower his best time from yesterday. Conducting two long runs, the Ajo Motorsport rider was searching for pace with Sunday’s race in mind. A best lap of 1:36.237 placed him in eleventh position on the timesheets.
An improved feeling came quickly in qualifying. Zarco and his team made the required changes and managed to set their first 1:35 lap of the weekend, putting the Frenchman on provisional pole after 15 minutes. He continued to shave tenths off his times before his first trip back to the pits, and on his second stint he put in his fastest lap -1:35.372 for second place. His time was just 0.138s off pole position.
The last Moto2 race of the season starts at 12:20pm on Sunday. Zarco needs just 4 points for a new intermediate category record, and could increase his existing record for podiums in a single season.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Tito Rabat (Kalex) 1:35.234
2. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:35.372 +0.138
3. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:35.441 +0.207
4. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:35.532 +0.298
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 1:35.694 +0.460
“We have taken a big step forward. I had to push hard to take second position, but that’s normal because we are in Valencia and everyone is riding very fast. Tito [Rabat] is very motivated to get the runner-up spot and take victory before moving up to MotoGP. For me it is also very interesting, because I have many things to learn and I want to prepare for next year. After having some problems yesterday and this morning, getting second position and starting from the front row gives us a good opportunity to have a good start to the race. I will do my best to get the win, but my first goal is to finish the race, because after a fantastic season I want to sign off with a smile.”