Zarco smashes lap record in electrifying FP3 session

If you weren't breaking records, you didn't make the Q2 cut on a thrilling Saturday morning

We were treated to plenty of FP3 French flair at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, with Johann Zarco recording a stunning effort to smash the All Time Lap Record in Le Mans. The Pramac star recorded an outstanding 1:30.537 on his final flying lap to end Free Practice on top of the timesheets.

Reigning World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) gave the home fans plenty to cheer about as he also secured a top three finish, just behind title rival Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)

A record-breaking session

It took a while to kick into life, but it proved to be worth the wait as all 10 riders inside the Q2 places smashed the previous Le Mans lap record prior to this weekend. Quartararo was the first to get the home fans on their feet as he posted the first-ever 1:30 lap seen at the circuit. It was a pulsating effort and Marc Marquez was nearly caught out trying to keep pace with the home hero, but not for the first time this season, the Repsol Honda man managed to stay aboard his RC213V.

Moments later, a new record was set. Spanish GP winner Bagnaia had just posted his best time of the weekend to move into the top five, before his next time attack absolutely blitzed Quartararo’s lap time. The Italian moved the goalposts into the mid-1:30s.

Quartararo refused to rest on his laurels. Exiting pitlane, he once again had Marquez on his coattails as he attempted to better Bagnaia’s time, but in the end he fell just a tenth short. The drama was far from over for the home fans, as Zarco began to light up the timing screens before pulling out a brilliant final sector to go top and set the new All Time Lap Record.

If you weren’t beating the old record, you didn’t make Q2

Marquez’ strategy of trailing Quartararo paid off as he sealed P4. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) also went into the 1:30s for fifth while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) did enough to round out the top six.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) fell victim to a Track Limits infringement earlier on that saw his best lap scrubbed from the record, but the Japanese rider didn’t let that faze him as he came back to take P7 just ahead of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who left it late to secure his passage into Q2.

A Turn 7 crash couldn’t stop Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) from claiming a top 10 place, while Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) experienced mechanical problems and had to abandon his GP21 during the session. Fortunately for the Italian, his Friday time was enough to squeeze into Q2.

Who has to go through Q1?

It’s disappointment for a number of big names, with 2020 World Champion Joan Mir heading for Q1. As are the likes of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).

They’ll be among the favourites to reach the battle for pole, but with only two places up for grabs, someone will be left disappointed. It’s set to be another qualifying thriller, so make sure you tune in from 14:10 CET to see which way it falls.

Top 10:

1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) – 1:30.537
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.031
3. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.145
4. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.248
5. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.300
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.449
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.525
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.550
9. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.565
10. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.611


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