Zarco zips to Island pole in 125s
Frenchman Johann Zarco has taken pole position for Sunday’s 23-lap IVECO Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in the 125cc class after topping qualifying on Saturday afternoon despite a late crash.
The Derbi rider, who won his maiden world championship race in Japan a fortnight ago, set his session-best time of 1min 39.207secs with seven minutes remaining in the 40-minute session, but was on course to improve his time further on his final lap before coming off at Turn 8.
The Frenchman was able to walk away from the accident unscathed, and finished the session 0.351secs ahead of German Sandro Cortese (Aprilia), who set the pace in Friday’s practice sessions for the 125cc category.
German teen Jonas Folger (Aprilia) rounded out the front row, four-tenths of a second behind Zarco, while series leader Nico Terol (Aprilia) was fourth, almost half a second shy of the benchmark time.
Terol leads Zarco by 31 points with three races remaining, but the Frenchman continued his late-season surge, recording his fourth pole of the season and third in the last quartet of races.
Zarco controlled the session from the time he became the first rider to lap in the 1min 39secs bracket after eight minutes. His lap of 1:39.541 stood as the time to beat for much of the session, the large field struggling with the gusty wind sweeping across the Phillip Island circuit.
Cortese made a late charge, but couldn’t get closer than three-tenths of a second to Zarco in the frantic final minutes.
Zarco’s teammate Efren Vasquez (Derbi) did well to recover from a fall in the early stages of the session to qualify sixth, while his compatriot Luis Salom (Aprilia) recovered to 10th after crashing at Turn 10 nine minutes into the session.
Victorian Nicky Diles (Aprilia) was the sole Australian wildcard to qualify, finishing the session in 32nd place.