Vinales Leads Yamaha Front Row Lockout in France

Maverick Vinales - Photo Credit:

Maverick Vinales took a comfortable pole position as Yamaha returned to form in qualifying at Le Mans. The Spaniard edged out team-mate Valentino Rossi in the closing minutes to claim pole while home favourite Johann Zarco triggered euphoric scenes in the grandstands after securing the final spot on the front row.

The rain-affected start to the weekend led to an unpredictable FP3 which was littered with surprises as Scott Redding topped the timesheets while both KTMs joined him in Q2. The three title favourites all made it safely through but Jerez winner Dani Pedrosa wasn’t so lucky, neither were the factory Ducatis or the Tech 3 Yamahas.

With such a stellar line-up, Q1 saw riders lapping at pole position pace and in the end, a last gasp effort from Andrea Dovizioso spared Ducati’s blushes as he joined Zarco in the top two. This came at the expense of Pedrosa who will have to start thirteenth while Jorge Lorenzo fared even worse, leaving him only sixteenth.

Repsol Honda’s fortunes didn’t pick up in Q2 either with Marc Marquez tumbling at the Dunlop chicane, just as he had in FP4, but Cal Crutchlow ensured Honda would have a say in the fight for pole by clocking a 1:32.414 midway through the session. Yamaha would soon take charge though and once Vinales broke into the 1:31s bracket, pole position was only going one way.

Rossi secured second despite encountering traffic late on while Zarco made full use of his Q1 reprieve to take third, just ahead of Crutchlow. Marquez could only manage fifth after his early mishap with Dovizioso rounding out the second row for Ducati, just pipping Scott Redding.

KTM had reason to celebrate with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith eighth and tenth respectively, either side of Karel Abraham while Jack Miller ended the day in eleventh. The fact the Australian was around to tell the tale was astonishing enough though after a terrifying crash in FP4.


2017 HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France: Qualifying Result

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
125. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:31.994Q2
246. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:32.100Q2
35. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.229Q2
435. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda1:32.300Q2
593. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:32.493Q2
64. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:32.726Q2
745. Scott ReddingDucatiOCTO Pramac Racing1:33.119Q2
844. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:33.399Q2
917. Karel AbrahamDucatiPull&Bear Aspar Team1:33.517Q2
1038. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:33.629Q2
1143. Jack MillerHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:33.756Q2
1276. Loris BazDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:33.955Q2
1326. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:32.415Q1
1419. Alvaro BautistaDucatiPull&Bear Aspar Team1:32.484Q1
1594. Jonas FolgerYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.695Q1
1699. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team1:32.830Q1
1729. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:32.844Q1
1841. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:33.187Q1
199. Danilo PetrucciDucatiOCTO Pramac Racing1:33.231Q1
208. Hector BarberaDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:33.233Q1
2122. Sam LowesApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:33.817Q1
2253. Tito RabatHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:33.875Q1
2350. Sylvain GuintoliSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:34.082Q1