MotoGP Le Mans: Zarco beats Marquez to grab home pole at Le Mans

Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco will start his home MotoGP race in France from pole after beating Marc Marquez in a frenetic qualifying session at Le Mans

A last-ditch lap of 1m31.185s - a new MotoGP track record around the Bugatti circuit - was enough for Zarco to claim his second pole of the season and the fourth of his fledgling premier class career.

The Frenchman led the opening runs with a time of 1m31.645s, putting him within a whisker of Maverick Vinales' FP3 benchmark - which itself had been a new MotoGP track record until it was beaten by several riders in qualifying.

Jorge Lorenzo was the first rider to dip below that effort with a 1m31.590s, before Marquez posted a 1m31.315s moments later to snatch top spot away from the Ducati rider.

But Zarco then managed to go 0.130 seconds faster on his final lap aboard his two-year-old Yamaha, with Honda man Marquez only managing a marginal improvement on his last tour and ending up a tenth down.

First qualifying pacesetter Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) surged to third place on the best of the Ducatis, qualifying 0.196s slower than Zarco, ahead of lead Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone.

Factory Ducati pair Andrea Dovizioso and Lorenzo will complete the second row in front of another Ducati rider, Jack Miller on Pramac's year-old machine.

Works Yamaha duo Vinales and Valentino Rossi only managed eighth and ninth respectively, neither getting within half a second of Zarco.

Completing the Q2 order were Dani Pedrosa, the second rider to progress from Q1, Tito Rabat (Avintia Ducati) and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, who crashed at the Dunlop chicane.

The opening Q1 session ended on a sour note when Cal Crutchlow suffered a huge high-side crash at the Garage Vert double right-hander.

The LCR rider was flung from his bike and high into the air as his Honda went sideways exiting the corner, before he landed awkwardly on his back. He was taken away on a stretcher, but showed the crowd a thumbs-up before he was placed in the back of an ambulance.

Crutchlow had been third-fastest before his crash, meaning he will start Sunday's race from 13th - if he is deemed fit to compete - ahead of Tech3's Hafizh Syahrin and the second Suzuki of Alex Rins.

The two KTMs only managed 17th and 18th, with Bradley Smith leading Pol Espargaro - who crashed along with both Aspar Ducati men Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham.

Scott Redding's miserable weekend continued as he qualified 22nd on the second Aprilia.

Qualifying result

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap
1 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.185s -
2 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m31.293s 0.108s
3 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m31.381s 0.196s
4 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 1m31.454s 0.269s
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m31.553s 0.368s
6 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 1m31.590s 0.405s
7 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m31.683s 0.498s
8 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.784s 0.599s
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m31.900s 0.715s
10 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m32.024s 0.839s
11 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m32.049s 0.864s
12 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 1m32.455s 1.270s
13 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m32.315s 1.130s
14 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m32.397s 1.212s
15 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1m32.401s 1.216s
16 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 1m32.770s 1.585s
17 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 1m32.795s 1.610s
18 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 1m32.988s 1.803s
19 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m33.062s 1.877s
20 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m33.324s 2.139s
21 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 1m33.439s 2.254s
22 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 1m33.676s 2.491s
23 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m33.802s 2.617s
24 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m33.839s 2.654s


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