Johann Zarco from Pramac Ducati finished the dominant run of five consecutive pole positions for his compatriot Fabio Quartararo and was the fastest in qualifying at the German Grand Prix on Saturday.
Yamaha’s Quartararo set the early benchmark of the session before Zarco dug deep to set his fastest lap in one minute, 20.236 seconds.
Zarco’s first pole since last year’s Czech GP was in danger in the closing stages when he crashed into Turn 4. But Quartararo broke off his last run and contented himself with second place on the grid.
“I’m pretty happy. In the closing stages I was finally able to get the most out of the tires,” said Zarco.
“I was still trying to push on the last lap and see what I can do. But I lost my front and couldn’t control the bike. I was just protecting myself. Everything is fine.”
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Aleix Espargaro reiterated his podium hopes after finishing third and taking Aprilia’s first front row spot in the premier class since the 2000 Australian Grand Prix.
Ducati’s Jack Miller, third in the championship race, was fourth ahead of Repsol Honda’s six-time premier class champion, Marc Marquez, who won the German race in his last 10 attempts.
Quartararo’s Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales had a day to forget and recorded his worst MotoGP qualifying result ever when he started in 21st.
The Italian Valentino Rossi did a little better on his Petronas SRT Yamaha and finished 16th ahead of Suzuki’s reigning world champion Joan Mir.
Before the Sunday race at the Sachsenring, Quartararo leads the championship race with 115 points, 14 ahead of Zarco in second place.