Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) stormed to an outstanding pole position at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, smashing the circuit lap record to become the first Frenchman to secure pole on home soil since Christian Sarron at Paul Ricard in 1988. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez threatened to spoil the party on his final lap, but it wasn’t enough, the World Championship leader starts P2. Q1 graduate Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) will start tomorrow’s race third on the grid, a great session for the Italian.
It was an incredibly tense Q2 session in Le Mans, with all eyes pinned towards the number 5 to see if he could get his M1 Yamaha on pole. The Frenchman, straight out the blocks, didn’t disappoint. He topped the timesheets after his first flying lap, however Marquez – as ever – was quick to reply. The reigning World Champion wasn’t at the summit for long though, as Petrucci put in his fastest lap of the weekend go provisional P1. Zarco though had other ideas, and on the final lap of his first run, the Frenchman sent a warning sign, going 0.330 seconds quicker than anyone else.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) briefly led the session when the riders came back out for their second runs, but Marquez then reset the benchmark, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) leaping up to second. The home hero though wasn’t done, again going quickest, this time by 0.130. Marquez’ efforts on his final lap sent French nerves into overdrive, but Zarco held on.
Iannone starts from P4 on his Suzuki, his time of 1:31.454 was less than a tenth off the front row. The Italian heads the two factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso, who’ll start fifth, and Lorenzo in sixth – both of whom look to have very strong race pace.
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was impressive once again in P7, he was in the mix throughout the session, making it four Ducatis in the top seven on a track the manufacturer has never won at. A team who have enjoyed winning at Le Mans recently are Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, however, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will have work to do from P8 and P9 on the grid respectively. The two will be disappointed to be over half a second behind fellow Yamaha rider Zarco.
Here are multiple angles of that brutal @calcrutchlow highside that ended his session. He was conscious and moving afterward but had to be stretchered away after landing hard on his side. pic.twitter.com/RAlsBHRxQX— beIN MOTOR SPORTS (@beINMOTOR) May 19, 2018
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who came through Q1, will start from tenth on Sunday. He is joined by Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), who was a slender 0.025 behind his compatriot, and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro. The number 41 crashed at Turn 1 on his opening run – he was okay and ran back to the pits.
The grid is set then for the French GP. Zarco led into the chicane here in 2017 after starting third, can he hold off the ever-fast Marquez and Petrucci when he launches from pole? Watch out too for the fast-starting Lorenzo on the second row, will he reproduce the lighting start he produced in Jerez? The top eleven are covered by eight tents, and it looks set to be a classic.
For the third time in 2018, Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) will start the Moto3 race from pole position after putting in a magnificent final run to take top spot at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP) continued his great weekend, leaping up the timesheets at the end of the session to start from P2 on his 150th Grand Prix start. After a heavy fall at the start of the session, walking wounded Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) put in a valiant effort to start from third in Sunday’s race.
Despite the perfect weather conditions, there were several early crashes in the session. Bastianini high sided at Turn 6, with rookie Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) suffering the same fate at Turn 4. Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) high sided coming onto the home straight – the Argentine took no further part in the session, and was taken to the medical centre for a checkup.
The times weren’t threatening the circuit lap record until Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) struck with 12 minutes to go, which set the scene for a barnstorming final ten minutes. Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) briefly took over at the front, before Bastianini went quickest. However, when the riders came out for their final run, it was Martin who took control – his 1:42.039 proved to be unbeatable.
Ramirez took P4 and heads the second row of the grid. Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3), another crasher early on, came back out strongly to take P5 on the grid. Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) – who crashed at Turn 7 mid way through the session – starts sixth, as he searches for his second win of the season.
Friday’s fastest man Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) starts seventh on is Honda machine, with Di Giannantonio and Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) joining him on the third row of the grid.
Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was tenth quickest, however he’ll start tomorrow's race from the back of the grid, so everyone behind the Spaniard will move up a place. This means Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) rounds out the top ten, with Jerez winner Philipp Oettl (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing) P11 and the injured Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) an encouraging P12.
Both CIP – Green Power bikes of John McPhee and Makar Yurchenko both crashed in the session – riders ok. Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) suffered a huge crash late in the session, the Malaysian rider luckily walked away.
Source : http://www.beinsports.com/us/motogp/video/flying-frenchman-zarco-wins-frenchgp-pole/878088