Johann Zarco makes strong start to San Marino GP


Ajo Motorsport team rider ends Friday at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with second fastest time of the day.

Johann Zarco went second fastest on the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix, the thirteenth round of the 2016 season for the Moto2 World Championship. Amidst high temperatures, the Frenchman spent Friday setting up his Kalex for Sunday’s race and was able to improve upon his best lap in the afternoon practice session.

A track temperature of 36°C welcomed Johann Zarco and the rest of the Moto2 field to the opening day of action. In the first practice session, the Ajo Motorsport rider decided to spend his time finding a race pace for Sunday. He made just one stop in the pits and did not change tyres, completing a total of 22 laps. Always among the three fastest riders, Zarco set his best time on his twentieth lap, putting in a 1:38.389 for third place.

The reigning Moto2 World Champion again set a good pace in the second session. Using the same tyres as in the morning, Zarco earned his fastest time of the day on his sixth lap of the afternoon. His 1:38.087 time enabled him to lead during the first half of the session, before being usurped by a rival. Finishing second on the combined timesheet for Friday at Misano, the series leader is feeling good about the race.

Qualifying for the San Marino GP takes place on Saturday from 3:05pm. Zarco will attempt to repeat his pole position from last season –when he also won the race. He had previously started from pole at Misano in 2011 –125cc–.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:37.737
2. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:38.087 +0.350
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 1:38.207 +0.470
4. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:38.285 +0.548
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:38.351 +0.626

5 JOHANN ZARCO “Today went well. We went out with used tyres once again –we didn’t have much of a choice– but I felt comfortable. We have gathered good information, I feel quite strong and we just have to fine tune some details in order to set the bike up as best as possible. I am very strong at the end of the race, maybe even too much, and we need to also be strong at the start. With the high temperatures the change primarily affects your body, rather than the setup of the bike. I like these conditions; I like to feel the sweat when you push to the maximum. It is a big change from the last race, but we have to adapt because it will not be the last Grand Prix in the heat this season.”