Top 10 for Zarco in crash-filled qualifying session


Ajo Motorsport rider takes tenth position in qualifying session for Australian GP, doctor after two falls.

After riding his Kalex in all conditions throughout the weekend, Johann Zarco contested qualifying for the Australian GP on slick tyres. However, the cold at Phillip Island meant that the afternoon run still provided plenty of challenges for the Frenchman. Zarco suffered two crashes, forcing him to miss part of the session. Having set the tenth best lap, less than half a second off pole position, he will start tomorrow’s race from the fourth row.

The suspension of FP2 yesterday led to the reorganisation of the schedule for Saturday, and the Moto2 riders enjoyed a 60-minute Free Practice session this morning. Intermittent rain made riding tricky, although Zarco was again competitive in the wet. In the closing stages, ridden on slicks, he snatched the top time with a 1:38.206.

With a dry track but with high winds and a temperature of 14ºC, the asphalt was slippery in qualifying. The reigning Moto2 World Champion was one of those to crash, doing so twice but escaping unhurt. His first fall came at Turn 9, eight minutes into the session, and upon his return to the track he moved up into fourth place. However, eleven minutes before the chequered flag he crashed again at Turn 2, dropping down to tenth place with his 1:34.470 time.

Johann Zarco has the double challenge of achieving his first Moto2 podium in Australia and consolidating his 21-point lead in the overall standings tomorrow.

Results – Qualifying Practice
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:33.992
2. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 1:34.051 +0.059
3. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:34.057 +0.065
4. Sandro Cortese (Kalex) 1:34.094 +0.102
5. Jesko Raffin (Kalex) 1:34.217 +0.225
10. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:34.470 +0.478


“FP3 went well. First in the wet, and then in the dry, I was able to take good references and set a good pace. In qualifying it was dry but windy, and we wanted to push hard from the beginning because of the chance of rain by midday. I had a good pace but I suffered a crash. I was lucky that the team were able to repair the bike very quickly and allow me to go back out. I continued to improve my times, but here in Australia everything has been very tight so far –tenth is not far from pole. I tried to push more, crashed again and was unable to improve. I am calm about tomorrow because my pace is good, so I have to keep focused all the way to earn points, which is what matters for the championship.”