Johann Zarco 'confused' by French MotoGP pole lap

Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco says he was "confused" when he saw the laptime that secured him pole position for the MotoGP race at Le Mans

Johann Zarco 'confused' by French MotoGP pole lap

Zarco secured a home pole with a mammoth 1m31.185s effort late on, smashing Jorge Lorenzo's erstwhile lap record by almost eight tenths.

The Frenchman said he was caught out by the laptime, and even admitted that the surprise hampered his final run in Q2.

"I felt on my first [run] with the first new tyre that the first lap you can have some extra performance, but I was not able to use it well," said Zarco.

"A 1m31.6s was already not bad, I was happy, and then for the second [run] I say 'okay, try to do this first lap as well as possible'.

"And when I saw this laptime on the dashboard, I didn't really believe it, I was even wondering if it's a good time, I was a bit confused.

"I tried to do it again next lap but was, almost because of the surprise of the lap before, [it was] difficult to repeat it."

As the chequered flag flew, Zarco watched rival Marc Marquez's final attempt on the big screens around the track - as the Spaniard came up just a tenth short of pole.

"I had [already passed] the chequered flag, I saw my name in pole position, I saw the crowd was quite happy - but then I was looking on the screen and seeing Marc [Marquez], that he was pushing," Zarco recalled.

"And you are thinking that, if he's the only one that the camera is filming, maybe he's going fast. I said 'second is going to be nice anyway' but, no, was pole position."

Le Mans marked Zarco's fourth premier-class pole, but his previous three did not yield a race finish higher than eighth - and he's still chasing a first MotoGP win.

But Zarco's race pace has been strong throughout practice, and he is convinced he is edging ever closer to a maiden victory.

"I'm happy that we're working well and here it's almost easier to find the pace compared to other tracks, because we don't feel a big drop [in] the tyre.

"So it can be an advantage for me, for the Yamaha guys, that we are not struggling with that.

"Marc [Marquez] is the strong guy at the moment, but we cannot expect someone [will be] stronger than the other one - just go, try to lead the race, would be good at the beginning to have less risk as possible in the group, and then see what happens to fight for the victory.

"But every weekend I feel [there's] more chance to catch the victory."

shares
comments
Maverick Vinales wishes MotoGP's French GP started at 9am Sunday
Previous article

Maverick Vinales wishes MotoGP's French GP started at 9am Sunday

Next article

Cal Crutchlow could miss French MotoGP race after qualifying crash

Cal Crutchlow could miss French MotoGP race after qualifying crash
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022
The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader Plus

The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader

Coinciding with the arrival of Massimo Rivola as head of its MotoGP division, Aprilia has undergone an internal revolution that has spurred it from occupying last place in the team standings to leading the table in the space of just two years. Those entrenched in the project reveal how the ex-Ferrari F1 chief has achieved the dramatic turnaround

MotoGP
Jul 15, 2022
The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP Plus

The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP

Franco Morbidelli was long overdue a promotion to factory machinery when it finally came late last year, having finished runner-up in the 2020 standings on an old Yamaha package. But since then the Italian has been a shadow of his former self as he toils to adapt to the 2022 M1, and recognises that he needs to change his style to be quick on it

MotoGP
Jul 13, 2022
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Plus

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star? Plus

Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star?

Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special

MotoGP
Jun 27, 2022