Zarco became the first Frenchman to secure pole on home soil since Christian Sarron at Paul Ricard in 1988. The Frenchman, in Q2, didn’t disappoint as he topped the timesheets after his first flying lap. He held on to capture pole just a couple tenths of a second ahead of Marquez.
Marquez commented, “Qualifying went very well. I expected to be fast but ’31.2 was really fast. Of course, Johann (Zarco) had something extra today and that made him even faster! He deserves this pole. It’ll be important to choose the best compound and then try to manage the race well. I think that the biggest challenge tomorrow will be Dovizioso. He’s not on the front row but tomorrow he’ll be there.”
Team mate Dani Pedrosa starts from tenth place on grid due to heavy traffic at the last stint of qualifying.
Both Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Lorenzo finished fifth and sixth in qualifying. Dovizioso had been unable to improve on his provisional pole time set in practice and finished the combined standings in fifth place.
Yamaha factory riders struggled throughout qualifying as Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were unable to ride the perfect lap they had in mind. They secured eighth and ninth place respectively. Viñales, in Q2, went on to improve his time, but still found himself in ninth place as he headed into the pits with more than six minutes remaining. He managed to move up to seventh place in his first flyer, but eventually finished eighth.
Rossi had a fall in the final practice, but couldn’t improve on his final attempts in Q2 to make an impression. He is down in ninth place, almost a second up on Pedrosa.
2018 MotoGP Le Mans qualifying
1 Johann Zarco Yamaha FRA 01’31.185
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 01’31.293
3 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 01’31.381
4 Andrea Iannone Suzuki ITA 01’31.454
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 01’31.553
6 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati ESP 01’31.590
7 Jack Miller Honda AUS 01’31.683
8 Maverick Viñales Yamaha ESP 01’31.784
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 01’31.900
10 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 01’32.024