Zarco claims maiden pole in Assen

Johann Zarco (Getty Images)
Johann Zarco (Getty Images)

Assen - Yamaha Tech3's French rider Johann Zarco edged four-time champion Marc Marquez in final qualifying to claim his maiden MotoGP pole on Saturday for the Dutch Grand Prix in Assen.

Honda's Marquez and Ducati's Danilo Petrucci keep Zarco company on the front row with world championship leader Maverick Vinales only managing to make the fifth row. 

Italian veteran Valentino Rossi sets off on the second row with Briton Scott Redding and Zarco's team-mate Jonas Folger.

Reigning Moto2 champion Zarco, at only his eighth attempt, becomes the first Frenchman since Olivier Jacque in Germany 15 years ago to set off from pole in the world championship's top category.

The 26-year-old coped best with a wet circuit and windy conditions to shade Marquez by 0.065 and Petrucci by .385s as Vinales, who had posted the fastest time in practice, failed to make an impact.

Yamaha's Spanish rider trailed in 11th in the pole-deciding session, a full 2.125 adrift.

At least Vinales made it through to second qualifying, in contrast to three time former MotoGP titleholder Jorge Lorenzo who trailed in 21st to leave him languishing on the penultimate row on Sunday's grid.

In the race for the 2017 world championship Vinales leads on 111 points from Dovizioso (104) and Marquez (88).

Zarco, in sixth with 75 points, is seeking to become the first French MotoGP winner since Regis Laconi in 1999, with none of his fellow countrymen ever wearing the MotoGP crown.

Starting grids for Sunday's Dutch MotoGP after qualifying in Assen on Saturday:


1st row

1 Johann Zarco (FRA/Yamaha Tech3) 1min 46.141sec, 2. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) at 0.065sec, 3. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati Pramac) 0.385

2nd row

4. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.564, 5. Scott Redding (GBR/Ducati Pramac) 1.433, 6. Jonas Folger (GER/Yamaha Tech3) 1.522

3rd row

7. Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Ducati Aspar) 1.671, 8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/LCR Honda) 1.901, 9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1.938

4th row

10. Sam Lowes (GBR/Aprilia Gresini) 1.987, 11. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 2.125, 12. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 3.482


7th row

21. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Ducati)


1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Kalex) 1:38.468, 2. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Kalex) at 0.101, 3. Thomas Lthi (SUI/Kalex) 0.115

2nd row

4. Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM) 0.147, 5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Kalex) 0.428, 6. Xavier Simeon (BEL/Kalex) 0.463

3rd row

7. Mattia Pasini (ITA/Kalex) 0.466, 8. Alex Marquez (ESP/Kalex) 0.470, 9. Marcel Schrotter (GER/Suter) 0.497


1st row

1. Jorge Martin (ESP/Honda) 1:57.595, 2. Bo Bendsneyder (NED/KTM) at 0.829, 3. Nicolo Bulega (ITA/KTM) 1.713

2nd row

4. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (THA/Honda) 2.461, 5. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Mahindra) 2.594, 6. Aron Canet (ESP/Honda) 2.965

3rd row

7. Joan Mir (ESP/Honda) 3.078, 8. Tony Arbolino (ITA/Honda) 3.118, 9. Manuel Pagliani (ITA.Mahindra) 3.231

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