Johann Zarco impresses in Estoril with a fourth place start for the Portuguese GP

Johann Zarco and Team JiR : Portuguese GPJohann Zarco was once again in impressive form aboard his Team JiR MotoBI today during qualifying for tomorrow’s Portuguese Moto2 race. The 21-year-old just missed out on a front-row start in just his third competitive outing on the four-stroke Moto2 machine, but will start tomorrow’s race in a superb fourth place on the grid, just a third of a second down on pole-sitter Marc Marquez.

Zarco was always near the top of the timing sheets and took second place behind pace-setter Marquez with 18 minutes of the session still to run, but then he suffered a small crash with ten minutes to go and had to re-start his machine and get back to the pits. In the meantime the Team JiR rider had been bumped down to third and – despite rejoining the session – he was finally knocked off the front-row of the grid in the dying seconds of qualifying when Scott Redding took third place. Despite this, today has been another very positive showing for the Frenchman, who is adapting well to the four-stroke MotoBI machine. Both team and
rider are now looking forward to tomorrow’s race.

Final position: 4th

Best lap: 1m 41.311s

I am very happy with today’s sessions and my MotoBI. In this afternoon’s qualifying I could follow Marc Marquez and make some pretty good times, so I was in second position for almost all of the qualifying session. Then when I was alone I wanted to get onto a 1m 41.5s pace, which was good, but later I had a small crash on my own, as I was pushing hard. It wasn’t a bad crash and I could re-start but it took some time to get back up to the
pace once more and this meant that I lost my position on the front row. Because of this, I am a little disappointed, but I have to also realise that this is quite a good performance in only my third race event on my MotoBI. I think we need to sit and think and understand how I can do these times without being so much on the limit, so it is a case of being fast and safe, but I know this will come with more hard work and experience on the Moto2
machine. I know I can be fast, but this comes with me pushing the MotoBI hard, so I need to get to that limit with a good safety margin. Tomorrow we must be clever in the race and that means that I have to push hard, not crash and finish the race as strongly as I can.

Top five classification after qualifying:
1. Marc MARQUEZ – 1’40.934
2. Thomas LUTHI – 1’41.054 – 0120
3. Scott REDDING – 1’41.278 – 0.344
4. Johann ZARCO – 1’41.311 – 0.377
5. Pol ESPARGARO – 1’41.424 – 0.490

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