10 things you should know before the French GP

Enjoy some juicy stats ahead of lights out on Sunday, including how Quartararo or Zarco could break a 68-year drought for French riders

It was a barnstorming Saturday at the SHARK Grand Prix de France as Ducati Lenovo Team saw Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller take a one-two on the grid, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) completing the front row. It wasn't a dream day for hometown heroes Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) or Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), but they will still launch from competitive positions on Sunday. It's set to be a cracker in Le Mans, so to whet the appetite, why don't you sink your teeth into 10 juicy facts ahead of lights out. 

1. Francesco Bagnaia has qualified on pole position (setting a new All Time Lap Record at Le Mans) for the eighth time in MotoGP™ and the second round in a row, after also doing so at Jerez. He will be aiming to win two consecutive races for the first time since Algarve and Valencia last year.

2. From his seven previous pole positions, Bagnaia finished on the podium six times (including four wins) and crashed once while leading the race (at the Emilia-Romagna GP, last year).

3. The pole for Bagnaia is the first for a Ducati rider at Le Mans in MotoGP™.

4. Last year’s Le Mans race winner, Jack Miller, has qualified second. That equals his best qualifying result so far this season, at the Americas GP when he went on to finish third (his most recent podium).

5. Aleix Espargaro has qualified third for his fourth front row so far this season, along with Argentina (when he was on pole), Portugal and Jerez. On each of those occasions, he went on to finish on the podium, and if he can do that again this weekend, it will be the first time that Aprilia has scored podiums in three successive premier class races.

6. Fabio Quartararo was on pole position for the last two years at Le Mans and finished third at the circuit last year. This weekend, he has qualified fourth, the sixth time so far this year that he has made the front two rows of the grid.

7. Enea Bastianini has qualified fifth, equalling his second-best qualifying result of the season from Indonesia, although he finished 11th there, and the Americas, where he took his second MotoGP™ win and most recent podium.

8. Quartararo and Johann Zarco will be aiming to become the second French rider to win at the French GP in the premier class, after Pierre Monneret in Reims in 1954. That will be 68 years ago, this 30th of May.

9. He might have gone into Q1 for the second time this year, after also doing so in Indonesia, but Joan Mir qualified seventh to be the top Suzuki rider. It is his second-best qualifying result of the season so far after Portugal, where he qualified P2, and he will be aiming to win for the second time in MotoGP™ after taking victory in the 2020 European GP at Valencia.

10. Marc Marquez has qualified 10th, making him the top Honda rider, but it is still his worst qualifying result at Le Mans in MotoGP™. This is also the first time that there is no Honda rider in the top nine in qualifying at Le Mans in the premier class since the Japanese manufacturer’s return to the competition in 1982.

Will Quartararo or Zarco end a 68-year-wait and have the French national anthem playing on the podium after Sunday’s race? Make sure you tune in at 14:00 (GMT +2) to find out!

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