Zarco begins Valencia GP with sixth place in practice


Newly crowned Moto2 World Champion completes opening day of practice in sixth place, seek improving his times in the afternoon session.

Johann Zarco kicked off his final weekend in the Moto2 class at Valencia on Friday, for sale and undertook his first practice sessions since being crowned World Champion for the second time in Malaysia a fortnight ago. The Frenchman placed sixth on day one, try after improving his times by over 3 tenths in the afternoon.

The Moto2 field had their FP1 session interrupted 9 minutes in by a red flag, shown due to the track conditions. Zarco was always inside the Top 10 during the session, in which he tried out the two tyre compounds available to him, and set a 1:36.128 lap that placed him eighth.

In the second session, the Ajo Motorsport rider made steady improvements to his lap times and his feel with his Kalex. On his final run-out, Zarco reduced his best time by 4 tenths, setting a definitive 1:35.754 that put him third in the session –and sixth overall.

The final qualifying session of the 2016 season takes place tomorrow at 3:05pm local time. Zarco will chase his fifteenth pole position in the class –his seventh of the season. In each of the past two years, he has qualified on the front row in Valencia.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:35.443
2. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:35.513 +0.070
3. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:35.568 +0.125
4. Simone Corsi (Speed Up) 1:35.636 +0.193
5. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 1:35.674 +0.231
6. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:35.754 +0.311



“I finished FP2 very well. Getting on the bike again after winning the title is a very good exercise for my concentration. It is not easy to push your hardest and ride on the limit, since your mind and body are asking you to relax, but you need to push again as if you had not just won the World Championship. I am happy to be able to do this exercise. At the moment the feeling is positive but I still need to continue pushing to improve and to be strong for the race.”