Christina Bulpett |
Picture: GeeBee Images
Johann Zarco’s French GP will start from Le Mans’ third rather than second row after being hit with a three-place grid penalty on Saturday.
Stewards deemed the Pramac rider was ‘riding slowly online and disturbing another rider at the exit of turn four’ during Q2 with the penalty handed to the Frenchman after the flag. The rider in question was Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro, who’s lack of a hot lap left the Spaniard 11th on the grid for the 27-lap battle, sandwiched between fellow HRC men Marc Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami.
“He was in the middle of the line in the last lap of the qualifying, so just that,” Espargaro said of the Dunlop chicane incident. “We didn’t take the best performance because I found Johann in the middle of the line in the last lap and I couldn’t make that last lap pushing but at the end of the day anyway, we couldn’t do better than third row, more or less in ‘30.9, which is very weak after seeing a Ducati doing ‘30.4.”
“I did my two laps quite fast and then I missed a bit my turn one, two and three ,” Zarco explained on Saturday evening.
“I knew that I could not improve anymore so I slow down and try to go on the right but I really did not expect Pol would have been that close from me. I’m really sorry that I disturb his lap at that moment.
“After the two fast laps that I could do and the mistake into the chicane, it’s true that I slowed down but wasn’t to wait someone but really to go on the right and wait. But unfortunately we were too close to each other.”