Johann Zarco was in high spirits after taking his first front row qualifying position since Le Mans at Silverstone this afternoon. The Frenchman was third fastest behind the Ducatis of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso after a dramatic qualifying session which took place in mixed conditions, with half of the circuit dry and the other half wet.
Zarco has struggled to hit the heights of the early races since his crash out of the lead at his home Grand Prix but today saw him back in the mix again, and hopes it acts as a springboard to challenge for the podium tomorrow.
“The strategy was either to change the tyre or try to cool the tyre for one more lap, and then push the next lap. I did it once and I wanted to do it another time but I had Maverick coming, also Marc and Iannone were waiting and because I had an advantage, I didn’t want to pull them. It was so much effort to make the lap time. It was a bit scared to miss the chequered flag and I missed out. Marc was in front with some distance and at turn 13, I had to overtake and I missed the middle of the corner and he passed me again so it wasn’t possible to beat the two Ducatis in qualifying.”
The story of the day has been the torrential weather which caused a dreadful accident late in FP4 which left Tito Rabat with a badly broken leg. Many riders have doubts over whether a race can take place in wet conditions tomorrow and Zarco agrees.
“The feeling on the bike was quite good. We were improving and starting from the front row is a big opportunity to fight at the front. If it’s raining from 6 o’clock in the morning and continues all day, it will be impossible to race because there will be too much water on the track. It’s difficult to say. It was one big cloud which created a big problem so if it’s constant, I think it’s not possible.”