Difficult Saturday for Zarco in Jerez


Reigning Moto2 World Champion doesn’t feel comfortable on second day of Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain, and will start from the fifth row tomorrow.

After two second places from the last two qualifying sessions, Johann Zarco had high hopes for Saturday at Jerez. Ultimately he was left disappointed, having not felt fast enough in FP3 and unable to gain places in an incredibly tight qualifying run. The Ajo Motorsport rider clocked the sixteenth fastest time, but will start from fifteenth on the grid after a rider ahead of him was handed a penalty.

The third and final Free Practice of the weekend for the Moto2 class was a tricky one for Zarco. Unlike on Friday, the Frenchman was not comfortable on his bike, and was unable to match his times from Day 1. A 1:43.490 lap was his best in the session, leaving him in nineteenth position.

The feeling was not much better in the qualifying session. Problems with a first soft tyre, then later by track conditions different from those experienced yesterday, prevented Zarco from enjoying the Saturday shootout. Improvement by other riders and intense equality in lap times -which left 12 riders within half a second of one another- meant his 1:43.171 best was only enough for sixteenth on the timesheet.

Despite starting from low down on the grid, the Frenchman hopes to get up into the leading group and fight for a second consecutive podium at Jerez, when the lights go out at 12:20pm local time.

Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:42.408
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 1:42.436 +0.028
3. Sandro Cortese (Kalex) 1:42.436 +0.031
4. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:42.42.480 +0.072
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:42.535 +0.127
16. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:43.171 +0.763

“It was a difficult qualifying session and we are far down on the grid. This will make the start of the race difficult, because all the riders are strong and the difference in times has been minimal. It seems that today the conditions were adequate for improving my lap time, but I didn’t feel comfortable and I couldn’t do it. Although we are not starting from a good  position, we have gathered a lot of data and that’s always important for the team, for my riding and for us to be better in the future. Tomorrow I have to gain confidence during the warmup. In the race it will be important to start strong and be smart, overtake as many riders as we can and join the leading group.”