Johann Zarco to start home GP from fifth on the grid


Ajo Motorsport rider misses out on pole by 0.333s and will start from the second row at Le Mans, despite suffering a small crash in qualifying.

Reigning Moto2 World Champion, Johann Zarco, today set the fifth fastest time in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. In front of his home crowd, the Ajo Motorsport rider put in his best lap of the weekend in the afternoon session, but a small crash in the final stretch prevented him from completing his last attempt at pole position. The Frenchman will instead take off from the second row of the grid.

The last 40-minute Free Practice session was very positive for Zarco, who rode with used tyres and managed a creditable second fastest time in the session -1:37.388-, just 0.030s off the top spot. Despite just missing out on improving his time from Friday, the Frenchman finished the morning run happy.

His confidence was reflected at the start of qualifying. The Ajo Motorsport rider set his fastest time of the weekend in the session, on his third lap. His 1:37.180 time earned him a momentary third position, but he would need another lap in which to chase pole. However, riding with new tyres, he crashed with five minutes to go at the opening chicane of the Le Mans track, and was relegated to fifth.

Tomorrow’s Moto2 race starts at 12:20pm local time. Third last year, Zarco will be aiming for his first victory at his home GP.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:36.847
2. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:36.899 +0.052
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 1:37.070 +0.223
4. Simone Corsi (Speed Up) 1:37.168 +0.321
5. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:37.180 +0.333


“I have been strong right from the beginning of the weekend, and this morning I improved even further, so everything was still positive. In my first outing with a new tire in qualifying I improved my time, although I was not the only one to do so. When I wanted to push to improve my time, I put on new tires for a final run and I crashed. It is not a big problem, and it is also useful information as to where the limit is. Fifth position is not too far back, so we will try to make a good start to fight with Luthi -because he seems to be the strongest rider here.”