Zarco starts German GP strongly


Ajo Motorsport rider finishes fourth on opening day at Sachsenring, despite practices being halted twice by rain.

Johann Zarco made a good start to the ninth round of the Moto2 World Championship on Friday at Sachsenring. The rain that interrupted the two free practice sessions failed to hinder the work of the reigning World Champion, who produced some of his best riding in order to tackle a drying track. The Frenchman managed to find a good feeling onboard his Kalex, allowing him to set the fourth fastest time of the day.

Fine rain forced the Moto2 riders to go cautiously at the beginning of FP1. However, Zarco was the most daring of the field, undertaking his first stint 12 minutes in on slicks -the first rider to do so. He was the benchmark for the rest of the grid, leading much of the session, and it was only in the final minutes that he was overtaken on the timesheets. A final hot lap of 1:25.763 moved him back up into second.

FP2 followed the same script, with rain delaying the start of the session. Zarco made his first outing with 25 minutes remaining, working on his setup and adaptation to adverse conditions. The Ajo Motorsport rider improved his best lap time on his final run, setting a 1:25.734. He was the rider with the most laps completed in FP2, with 17.

Zarco will be targetting a repeat of last season’s pole position at Sachsenring when qualifying begins tomorrow at 3:05pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:25.244
2. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:25.413 +0.169
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 1:25.539 +0.295
4. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport), 1:25.734 +0.490
5. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:25.737 +0.493

“In the two free practice sessions we analysed the track conditions thoroughly as it dried, to get more information on how we can work if conditions are strange on Sunday. I am happy after this first day because it is a very difficult track, which is very demanding on the left side of the bike and the left side of the rider’s body. I felt very good and the team worked hard to get me comfortable on the bike. I feel that everything is under control, and the only thing I have to do is stay focused, relax and try things out on the track to find the best way of riding. It is important to get on the front row in order to to make a good start and be up in the front positions, but what matters here is your pace. It is difficult to make a big difference in lap times, so if we can progress, be fast and stay consistent for twenty-nine laps, the race will be very positive.”