Good start to flyaway rounds for Johann Zarco


Ajo Motorsport rider begins Japanese Grand Prix fifth fastest, see improving his lap times in FP2.

Johann Zarco made a positive start to the Japanese Grand Prix weekend on Friday. At Twin Ring Motegi, for sale where last year he took pole position and victory, purchase the reigning Moto2 World Champion made continuous improvement, setting his best time of 1:51.185 on his final attempt. It put him in fifth place on the combined timesheet.

Good weather at the Japanese track enabled the Ajo Motorsport rider to be fast from the opening minute of the first practice. Zarco was comfortable and set a good pace on his 19 laps in the session, making just a single stop in the pits. A best lap of 1:51.975 on his penultimate time around placed him second at the end of the first 45 minutes.

The Frenchman ran a similar strategy in FP2, setting his best times after his only trip to the garage. On lap 11 he lowered his morning time, although his 1:51.185 lap was his twenty-first and last of the day. The time was only half a second off the top spot.

Zarco will look to repeat his pole position from last season in qualifying, which takes place tomorrow at 3:05pm -local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:50.625
2. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:50.900 +0.275
3. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:50.984 +0.359
4. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:51.184 +0.559
5. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:51.185 +0.560


“This first day in Japan has gone well. The weather conditions were good but the grip level is a bit tricky, because at some points of the track it is very good but in others it is slippery. With these conditions it is difficult to find the best setup and improve our feeling, but step-by-step we are making progress. We are calm, the whole team are working together and focused, and this is the way forward to have a great race on Sunday.”