Zarco back on front row at Austin


Ajo Motorsport rider takes second position on the grid for second consecutive race.

An excellent personal best lap of the weekend allowed Johann Zarco to compete for pole position in qualifying for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas on Saturday afternoon. Only the result of the split time for the last sector of the track prevented the reigning Moto2 World Champion from getting first position on the timesheets -2 tenths of a second denying him pole. The Frenchman will instead take off from second on the grid on race day, placing on the front row for the second race in succession.

The intermediate category riders had their final practice session affected by rain at Austin. Some 25 minutes from the end of the session, the skies opened and things became difficult on track, resulting in several crashes. Johann Zarco had a small fall at Turn 13, which did not prevent him from going back out for further laps. Nevertheless, he repeated the third place he had taken yesterday with a 2:10.447 time.

In the qualifying session, the American track was back in good condition with a completely dry asphalt. Off the pace of the Top 3 in the early going, Zarco benefitted from a red flag being shown with 10 minutes remaining. After resetting and refocusing, he improved his lap time three times, clocking his best of 2:09.066 on his last attempt -with three red helmets showing on the timing screens.

Johann Zarco will look for his second consecutive podium of the season tomorrow from 12.20pm local time. Last year he finished runner-up at Austin.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Alex Rins (Kalex) 2:08.850
2. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 2:09.066 +0.216
3. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 2:09.100 +0.250
4. Dominique Aegerter (Kalex) 2:09.163 +0.313
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:09.171 +0.321


“Today I had a problem at the start of the qualifying session, but with the red flag I was able to regain my focus and give everything with a new tyre. Thanks to this I put in my fastest lap on my last attempt, so I’ll be in the front row -which is very important to me. The race will be difficult, especially because of the slow corners. I want to be in the leading group with Alex [Rins], because he likes this track a lot and wants to win here, but I also want the win and will do my best to take another victory.”