Johann Zarco kicks off Austrian GP in the Top 3


Ajo Motorsport team rider places third on Friday at Red Bull Ring, medical after topping the timesheets in FP1.

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco returned from the summer break with the same momentum with which he ended the first half of the season. Despite facing a new track on the calendar in the Red Bull Ring, no rx the French rider finished third in the combined timesheets for the two Free Practice sessions held on Friday for the Austrian GP.

Conditions in Austria were atypical for the summer, with temperatures as low as 10ºC for the first Moto2 session of the weekend. Right from the start, Zarco showed that he had a good base from the test held at the Red Bull Ring a fortnight ago, and placed amongst the Top 5. It was not until the last lap for the Ajo Motorsport rider that he set the fastest time of the session -a 1:30.117.

With air temperatures lowering yet further for the second practice session of the day, Zarco turned up the heat with a strong pace and a solid setup. He clocked the third best time of the day -1:29.937- on his final stint, and was the only person in the Top 3 to make just one stop in the pits. He was quicker than in the morning and just 2 tenths off the top spot.

Tomorrow Zarco will be chasing pole position in qualifying for the Austrian GP, which takes place at 15:05pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:29.695
2. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:29.773 +0.078
3. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:29.937 +0.242
4. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:29.979 +0.284
5. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 1:30.133 +0.438


“I am very happy, because after the summer break I have come back feeling that I am at a very high level. Today was cold compared to the test we did two weeks ago, and we could tell that. As the laps went by I could see that the track was in good shape and I was able to push a bit more, find a good feeling on the bike and give precise information to the team. I felt that we had everything pretty much under control. I enjoyed myself today at this circuit; there are very fast corners and the asphalt is very good. I felt good from beginning to end and this is very important for the race. Qualifying will be difficult because it is a short, but also very fast, circuit. The top lap will be below 1:30 and everything will be very tight. The higher the position on the grid, the more it will help us in the race.”