Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will start Sunday’s Motul Grand Prix of Japan from P2 on the grid as he is set to start from the front row for the first time since his Le Mans pole.
Motul Grand Prix of Japan: MotoGP™ Q2
“I’m happy to be fast again,” confirmed the Frenchman, who has been up the sharp end all weekend on board his YZR-M1 Yamaha. “From FP1 I got a good pace and could work well with the team, trying to get better but that’s pretty difficult. For the qualifying, with the first tyre, it was quite difficult. But with the second one I was quite fast.”
However, there has been one downfall to Zarco’s lap time all weekend: the final sector. And in qualifying the double Moto2™ World Champion couldn’t quite hook it up once more, but he wasn’t far off, 0.068 to be precise. Would it have been pole without a small error? “I missed the pole by almost nothing because I made a mistake on the last chicane but starting from the first row is the main thing and I’m pretty happy. It’s a good opportunity, I think.”
A good opportunity it is, but with pole man Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) looking strong on race pace, is a shot at victory a realistic aim for Zarco? “I need to dream. A podium would be amazing,” affirmed the number 5 rider, who admits his main target is to be the first Independent Team rider across the line:
“Top five in Thailand was good but the main thing is to be the first Independent rider, get some points on Danilo and Cal and, if I can get many points tomorrow, I must take it.”
Could this be Zarco's chance to take his first MotoGP™ win?
Five points separates the trio in the Championship and with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) looking strong and starting from P4, we could have a brilliant battle on our hands for top Independent honours.
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