Johann Zarco produced a superbly calculated ride to qualify on the second row of the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix. The French star began the day with instant speed after powering to 2nd in FP3 and he then continued the flow by completing free practice 4 in 4th. When the Q2 shootout began, Zarco tactfully delayed his start and opted to undertake one run and not pit. He built up his pace before firing over the finish line to end up only 0.258 back from the front row.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger will begin his quest to seal a strong result in the Austrian hills from the head of the fifth row of the grid. The rapid German rider completed the practice sessions in 13th overall which confirmed his participation in Qualifying 1. Here, he determinedly pushed until the chequered flag appeared and his best lap saw him finish 3rd in the session and only 0.166 adrift of the Q2 zone. Both riders will seek to impress in the 11th round of the championship which will commence tomorrow at 14:00.
Position: 6th - Time: 1'23.879 - Laps: 8
“We have undertaken some good work and the feeling is positive at this track, plus I am happy about qualifying on the second row. However, I have to admit that I was not quite relaxed enough and I feel that it would have been possible to produce a better time. Perhaps I couldn’t have equalled Marquez’s lap but I think that I would have been able to fight with Lorenzo for 3rd, yet, I needed to be calmer to do this. That is the only shame about the qualifying, but my race pace this morning was fast and I was consistent. In FP4 we tried a different compound of tyres and it became a bit trickier, so it looks like we know where we are with this. Tomorrow, I aim to have good start and fight as soon as the lights go out because when you get into a solid position at the beginning, then you can run a better pace and have a more positive time. So the top five is my target in order to score a lot of points for the championship, but if everything goes well and I feel comfortable, I will take the chance to fight for another podium.”
Position: 13th - Time: 1'24.015 - Laps: 9
"I know that our potential was much higher than the result that we achieved today so I’m a bit disappointed. So far, we have struggled throughout the weekend and we are still slightly unsure about which direction to head towards. However, in Q1, we did an ok job and with the lap time that I set, I would have qualified in 9th in Qualifying 2 and that would have been quite positive. Anyway, the timing was not perfect and we had to analyse a lot of things which caused us to lose time. In the end, P13 is a tricky place to start from, but if I have a strong performance, which I fully intend to, then I can collect some valuable points for the championship.”