Johann Zarco on 125cc Australian GP pole, despite late crash
Johann Zarco claimed his fourth pole position of the year, despite a heavy crash in the final minute of qualifying for the 125cc Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island
The Frenchman set three times that would have been good enough for pole on his Ajo Derbi, the best of them a 1m39.207s lap coming with 16 minutes remaining.
It meant that he didn't need to improve as he began his final flying lap in the last minute of the session. But he tried hard anyway; too hard, in fact, as he lost the front end of his bike at the uphill entry to Lukey Heights and fell.
Fortunately, for the man who is Nico Terol's only threat for the world championship, he was able to walk away from the accident. Jakub Kornfeil, who took to the grass in avoidance, was not so lucky as he was removed on a stretcher after falling from his Ongetta Aprilia as he hit the gravel.
With Zarco's pole assured, the main battle was for second place on the grid between Germans Jonas Folger and Sandro Cortese.
Folger, who had not qualified on the front row since the 2009 Catalan Grand Prix, looked to have sewn up second spot with a superb effort with three minutes left on his Ajo Aprilia, but Cortese was in no mood to be beaten, and retook the position just seconds later on his Racing Team Germany Aprilia.
Terol, who can become world champion on Sunday, headed the second row ahead of his Aspar Aprilia team-mate Hector Faubel and Efren Vazquez's Ajo Derbi.
Danny Kent, riding yet another Ajo bike - this time an Aprilia - lay fifth with a minute to go, but was demoted to seventh by the chequered flag, while Alberto Moncayo (Andalucia Aprilia) and Maverick Vinales (Blusens Aprilia) completed the third row.
The top 10 was rounded out by RW Aprilia rider Luis Salom, who recovered from a mid-session crash at MG corner to take the position.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap 1. Johann Zarco Ajo Derbi 1m39.207s 2. Sandro Cortese Germany Aprilia 1m39.558s + 0.351s 3. Jonas Folger Ajo Aprilia 1m39.610s + 0.403s 4. Nico Terol Aspar Aprilia 1m39.702s + 0.495s 5. Hector Faubel Aspar Aprilia 1m39.963s + 0.756s 6. Efren Vazquez Ajo Derbi 1m40.272s + 1.065s 7. Danny Kent Ajo Aprilia 1m40.292s + 1.085s 8. Alberto Moncayo Andalucia Aprilia 1m32.317s + 1.094s 9. Maverick Vinales Blusens Aprilia 1m40.334s + 1.127s 10. Luis Salom RW Aprilia 1m40.424s + 1.217s 11. Luigi Morciano FMI Aprilia 1m40.506s + 1.299s 12. Louis Rossi Matteoni Aprilia 1m40.672s + 1.465s 13. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta Aprilia 1m40.705s + 1.498s 14. Adrian Martin Aspar Aprilia 1m40.984s + 1.777s 15. Alexis Masbou Caretta KTM 1m41.018s + 1.811s 16. A. Tonucci FMI Aprilia 1m41.066s + 1.859s 17. Niklas Ajo TT Aprilia 1m41.380s + 2.173s 18. Harry Stafford Ongetta Aprilia 1m41.380s + 2.173s 19. Danny Webb Mahindra 1m41.517s + 2.310s 20. Marcel Schrotter Mahindra 1m41.543s + 2.336s 21. Josep Rodriguez Blusens Aprilia 1m41.963s + 2.756s 22. Manuel Tatasciori Phonica Aprilia 1m42.084s + 2.877s 23. Sturla Fagerhaug WTR Aprilia 1m42.172s + 2.965s 24. Giulian Pedone Phonica Aprilia 1m42.192s + 2.985s 25. Brad Binder Andalucia Aprilia 1m42.218s + 3.011s 26. Jasper Iwema Ongetta Aprilia 1m42.304s + 3.097s 27. Z. Khairuddin Ajo Derbi 1m42.330s + 3.123s 28. Taylor Mackenzie Phonica Aprilia 1m42.713s + 3.506s 29. Jack Miller Caretta KTM 1m42.833s + 3.626s 30. Joan Perello Matteoni Aprilia 1m44.312s + 5.105s 31. Marco Colandrea WTR Aprilia 1m44.618s + 5.411s 32. Nicky Diles RSW Aprilia 1m45.176s + 5.969s 33. Josh Hook Hook Aprilia No Time
Zarco scores maiden win after duel with title rival Terol at Motegi
Sandro Cortese wins rain-shortened Australian 125cc Grand Prix