Zarco Takes Pole with Record Breaking Lap

Johann Zarco - Photo Credit:

Johann Zarco smashed the ten-year-old Losail lap record to take pole position for the opening round of the 2018 MotoGP season. The Frenchman produced the fastest ever two-wheeled lap in Qatar to edge out reigning champion Marc Marquez with Danilo Petrucci the leading Ducati rider in third.

Ducati were considered the favourites heading into qualifying after Andrea Dovizioso had topped three of the four practice sessions prior to Q2. True to form, the Italian leapt straight to the top of the leaderboard on his opening run, setting a 1:54.074, but Dovizioso wouldn’t go any quicker in the remainder of the session, something that would ultimately cost him.

The second runs commenced with Jorge Lorenzo, lying twelfth, the first to hit the race-track and the Spaniard made a substantial improvement to go third. A pack of riders were all circulating together further behind, led by Zarco, and the Frenchman soon deprived Lorenzo of his pole-position record, clocking a 1:53.680 to go three tenths faster than the five-times champion went here ten years ago, securing pole position into the bargain.

Marquez followed in the Frenchman’s slipstream to take second while Petrucci also went inside the existing pole position record to grab third. Cal Crutchlow will line up an excellent fourth for LCR Honda ahead of Dovizioso with Suzuki’s Alex Rins completing the second row after pipping Dani Pedrosa.

Valentino Rossi starts eighth on the first Movistar Yamaha after relegating Lorenzo all the way back to ninth while Jack Miller emerged out of Q1 to claim a top ten spot. Maverick Vinales also had to navigate his way through the first session but the 2017 polesitter couldn’t improve on twelfth, just behind Andrea Iannone.


2018 Grand Prix of Qatar: (Qualifying Result)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
15. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:53.680Q2
293. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:53.882Q2
39. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:53.887Q2
435. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda Castrol1:54.072Q2
54. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:54.074Q2
642. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:54.339Q2
726. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:54.368Q2
846. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:54.389Q2
999. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team1:54.431Q2
1043. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:54.449Q2
1129. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:54.619Q2
1225. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:54.707Q2
1341. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:55.140Q1
1421. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:55.169Q1
1555. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:55.258Q1
1653. Tito RabatDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:55.273Q1
1745. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:55.380Q1
1812. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:55.381Q1
1917. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:55.392Q1
2038. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:55.553Q1
2119. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:55.638Q1
2244. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:55.706Q1
2330. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU1:56.401Q1
2410. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:56.545Q1