Zarco Claims Home Pole Position at Le Mans

by Louis Suddaby

Johann Zarco sent the French crowd into ecstasy by claiming pole position for his home Grand Prix at Le Mans. The home favourite set the fastest ever two-wheeled lap of the Bugatti circuit to edge out world champion Marc Marquez, setting the scene for a mouth-watering battle between the two tomorrow.

In a dramatic weekend littered with crashes across all classes, Q1 brought more of the same with Cal Crutchlow suffering a heavy high-side exiting Garage Vert. The Briton was chasing a spot in the pole position shoot-out but the accident launched him into the air before a painful landing on his hip, ending his session and potentially his weekend.

All eyes were focused on Zarco once Q2 got underway and the Frenchman didn’t disappoint, moving straight into provisional pole with his first lap of the session. Danilo Petrucci, the pacesetter in Q1, emerged as a shock contender with a 1:31.658 but Zarco regained top spot before pitting for a change of tyres, setting a 1:31.645.

The times continued to tumble on the second runs, Jorge Lorenzo chopping a tenth off the benchmark time on his Ducati, but the session would boil down to a head-to-head between the home favourite and the defending champion. Marquez struck the next blow, clocking a 1:31.315, but the final word would go to Zarco with a blistering 1:31.185 earning him a fourth career pole in the premier class.

Petrucci maintained third ahead of Andrea Iannone’s Suzuki, ensuring four different manufacturers will line up in the top four grid slots. Andrea Dovizioso grabbed fifth for Ducati, edging out team-mate Lorenzo, with Jack Miller seventh on the second Pramac machine. Movistar Yamaha’s problems continue with Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi eighth and ninth respectively while Dani Pedrosa took tenth on the grid after navigating his way through Q1.


2018 HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France: (Qualifying)

PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time 
15. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:31.185Q2
293. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:31.293Q2
39. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:31.381Q2
429. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:31.454Q2
54. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:31.553Q2
699. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team1:31.590Q2
743. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:31.683Q2
825. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:31.784Q2
946. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:31.900Q2
1026. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:32.024Q2
1153. Tito RabatDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:32.049Q2
1241. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:32.455Q2
1335. Cal CrutchlowHondaLCR Honda Castrol1:32.315Q1
1455. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:32.397Q1
1542. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:32.401Q1
1621. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:32.770Q1
1738. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:32.795Q1
1844. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing1:32.988Q1
1930. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU1:33.062Q1
2019. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:33.324Q1
2112. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS1:33.439Q1
2245. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:33.676Q1
2310. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing1:33.802Q1
2417. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team1:33.839Q1

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