Johann Zarco takes pole with authority in Malaysia


Ajo Motorsport rider claims sixth pole position of the season, order with 2 second gap to nearest rival in mixed conditions.

Johann Zarco achieved one of the most comprehensive pole positions in Moto2 history this Saturday at the Malaysian Grand Prix, taking the top spot in qualifying more than 2 seconds faster than his nearest rival. Conditions were difficult, with the wet asphalt drying out during the session, but the Ajo Motorsport rider dominated virtually the entire run to clinch his sixth pole position of the season.

In FP3, rain threatened from 9 minutes in with a few light drops, but conditions remained dry for the Moto2 riders until a shower with 12 minutes remaining. Zarco ended the session in fifth place with a time of 2:07.813 –matching that set by the rider in fourth– and had lowered his best time from yesterday.

The rain gave a respite but the asphalt was still wet at the start of the qualifying session. Zarco showed his desire to take pole from the opening minutes, and led the way after 11 minutes. Although the asphalt was drying, the Frenchman stuck with wet tyres as he continued taking chunks off his lap times. He concluded the session with a 2:18.621 once the chequered flag was already out, putting him 2.1 seconds ahead of the second fastest rider.

The Moto2 Malaysian GP takes place tomorrow at 1:20pm local time –6:20am CET. It represents the first chance for Johann Zarco to win the Moto2 title, and he leads Thomas Luthi and Alex Rins by 22 and 25 points, respectively.

Results – Qualifying Practice
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 2:18.621
2. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:20.755 +2.134
3. Axel Pons (Kalex) 2:21.383 +2.762
4. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 2:21.559 +2.938
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:21.775 +3.154

“I am very happy to get pole position. The last lap was very good; I had a good feeling riding with Morbidelli up at the front and was even able to pass him. The track had a lot of surface water, but I still saw I could give more. I don’t know what conditions we will encounter tomorrow, but the important thing will be to start out very focused and calm, because I have a good feeling in both dry and wet conditions. It will be important to be strong from the start and take the lead, so that I can just focus on my own pace. If the race is dry I think there will be a good fight in the leading group; if it is wet, it will be a long race and we will have to be careful. Tonight I will sleep well and keep calm for tomorrow.”