Zarco starts Italian GP weekend dominant at Mugello


Ajo Motorsport rider tops combined timesheets on the first day of the Italian GP.

As he did in Le Mans, clinic Johann Zarco started the weekend in Tuscany as the fastest rider in Moto2. The Ajo Motorsport rider ended the two Free Practice sessions as the quickest man of the day, order setting a best time of 1:52.944 and setting the best pace in the intermediate category.

The track conditions were not optimal on Friday morning, with several damp patches due to morning rain, but Zarco began FP1 strong. After waiting 8 minutes in the pits ahead of his first stint, the Ajo Motorsport opted for slick tyres. However, it was at the end of the session and after a single stop that the Frenchman showed his best pace, taking the top spot with his last attempt -1:53.592.

In the second free practice session, with the track in better conditions, Zarco maintained his pace from the morning and improved his time from FP1 on his sixth lap. After going less than a tenth off the fastest time on several occasions, it was on his final lap that the French rider stopped the clock at 1:52.944. This made him the quickest rider of the day, and one of only two competitors to go round in under 1:53.

Tomorrow sees qualifying for the Italian GP from 3:05pm, in which the reigning World Champion will fight for a position on the front row of the grid. Last year he missed out on a top three start by just 0.012s.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:52.944
2. Sandro Cortese (Kalex) 1:52.993 +0.049
3. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:53.009 +0.065
4. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:53.054 +0.110
5. Hafizh Syahrin (Kalex) 1:53.069 +0.125

“It was a good first day, because I led the two Free Practice sessions and that is important for gaining confidence. In the morning we rode carefully at first, but we steadily improved and I stayed calm; I identified what our mistakes were. In the afternoon there were better track conditions, although it is not easy to go fast at Mugello. We are doing our best and things have gone well at the moment, but we want to improve our times by working with the team. I am very pleased with how everything went today; we must be prepared for qualifying and the race, in which if the weather is good everyone will be able to push a lot.”