Positive opening night for Johann Zarco in 2016 World Championship


Ajo Motorsport rider starts Qatar GP fifth fastest after first two free practice sessions of the season.

Zarco, Qatar Moto2 2016

Zarco, Qatar Moto2 2016

After a 4-month winter break, the Moto2 World Championship returned to action on Thursday night at the Losail International Circuit. Johann Zarco, the reigning World Champion, started the event with a good feeling and was fifth fastest –with a time of 1:59.889– in the combined timesheet for the evening. The Frenchman also had a strong pace that bodes well for Sunday’s race.

The good condition of the Qatari track allowed the Moto2 riders to be fast from the start of the opening session. Johann Zarco felt comfortable and spent most of the session in the Top 3, making just a solitary stop in the garage as he put in 19 laps. A great second stint allowed him to set his best lap of 1:59.977 for third –a time already faster than that which he achieved in the Official Test last week.

The Ajo Motorsport rider needed just four laps in Free Practice 2 to lower his time. A 1:59.889 lap earned him fourth place in the session, 3 tenths off the top spot, but Zarco was more pleased with his pace on used tyres.

On Friday the intermediate category riders will enjoy only one practice session, which starts at 7:55pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 1:59.566
2. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:59.657 +0.091
3. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:59.678 +0.112
4. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:59.731 +0.165
5. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:59.889 +0.323

“It was a very positive first day of the GP. I felt much better than at the test we had at this circuit. This means that last week was very important and we did a great job, which has allowed me to focus solely on my riding today because the bike worked well. We have taken a step forward, and I’m happy. We remain very consistent and have a good pace with worn tyres. With new tyres we can still improve our feeling. I am calm, satisfied and took a positive result today. We’re going step by step.”