Zarco claims popular pole at Le Mans

Three decades on from Christian Sarron's pole at Circuit Paul Ricard, Johann Zarco will start at the front of MotoGP's French Grand Prix.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco.   -  Getty Images

Johann Zarco delighted the fans at Le Mans as he became the first French rider to claim MotoGP pole on home soil in 30 years.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man set a blistering lap record of one minute, 31.185 seconds to earn his spot at the front of the grid and match the 1988 effort of compatriot Christian Sarron.

Championship leader Marc Marquez, 12 points ahead of Zarco in the riders' standings, will start second with Danilo Petrucci third, the Italian having topped Q1.

Zarco was stunned by his performance after securing pole position for Sunday's race.

"It feels great. For sure I wanted to be fast but to be fast like that ... I was surprised to read it on my dashboard," he said.

Last year's French Grand Prix winner Maverick Vinales finished further back in eighth and his struggles compounded a disappointing day for Movistar Yamaha, with Valentino Rossi ninth.

There were earlier concerns for Cal Crutchlow after the LCR Honda rider flew off his bike and landed heavily on his side in Q1, but he was conscious and acknowledged fans as he was carried away on a stretcher.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3): 1:31.185secs
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:31.293s
3. Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac): 1:31.381s
4. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar): 1:31.454s
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): 1:31.553s
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati): 1:31.590s
7. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac): 1:31.683s
8. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha): 1:31.784s
9. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha): 1:31.900s
10. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 1:32.024s
11. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia): 1:32.049s
12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia): 1:32.455s