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MotoGP Germany: ‘The Ducati's potential is pretty high,' says poleman Zarco

Pramac’s Johann Zarco claimed his first MotoGP pole position of 2021 at the Sachsenring this afternoon after beating fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo by just 0.011s.

In a session that was marred by controversy with multiple riders seeming to wait for a tow in the middle of the 15-minute shootout, the Ducati man was jubilant that he had extracted the maximum from his Desmosedici at such a notoriously difficult track - despite crashing out of his final effort at turn four with his bike ending up in the air-fence.

“I’m feeling pretty high emotion and adrenaline also, with this pretty good lap,” Zarco exclaimed as qualifying concluded.


“I was happy to use the tyre on the first lap - you can feel there is an extra performance, but I was not able at the beginning of the qualifying to do it well. On the second tyre I could do it and I’m pretty happy. I’ve been surprised with the time, then I tried to give a little bit more for the lap remaining but I think too much lean angle in this turn five, and I closed the front. Fortunately is not a very fast corner, and with the full leaning I was already on the floor so was just a slide! But as I said, very high adrenaline because the emotion of the good lap time and then the focus, the confidence on the bike, the crash. Also the bike in the air fence - there was some smoke and I asked the marshal to try to get out the bike as quick as possible, to not start any fire.

“With all of this, I need a bit of time to really get calm. Everything was good and it’s nice also here in Sachsenring. For me, it’s a difficult track and for Ducati the statistics are not the best, but as I say, the potential is pretty high so we can have some surprise, as I did today, and I hope tomorrow I will still be the first surprise!

“Thinking about victory right now, it’s really optimistic because I still have a big question mark on the race pace. I did a big step from yesterday to this morning, so that’s a nice proof of good work with the team. Then in the afternoon I finished first in the FP4 but this is because I changed the tyre at the end of the practice - because with the used tyre I was struggling a lot - but it’s always helpful to get information. I hope tomorrow to find even another step with the team. It’s difficult for us but I think it’s also difficult for the others. Starting from pole will give me this advantage to have the chance to, not to control the race, but to control a little bit my tyres, and see if I can be first or not.

“With this track it’s difficult to spend such a long time on the left side of the tyre. As soon as the tyre gets too warm it’s difficult to go fast or to really control the bike, or have a good feeling. This is maybe the main tricky things for the race, for a time attack it’s less of a problem because the tyre is fresh and doesn’t have the time to get too hot. In turn 11, before, the front was tricky, if it’s a bit cold we got many crashes, this year we have no crashes in turn 11 so I’m happy for this.”

Discussing the issue of riders waiting on track for a tow, in both the MotoGP and Moto3 classes, the Frenchman was fairly pragmatic.

“It’s only really a problem for Fabio, because he’s the fastest at the moment and we try more to be behind him than alone. He tries to be alone because he knows that he can do it!’ Zarco explained.

“In Moto GP we have less people to wait and if we are out of the line, it can work. Also in MotoGP if you wait too long your tyre is not hot enough and you cannot push anyway on the next lap so we are always in this balance - if you wait too much maybe you start to push and you crash on the first corner. I don’t know how is it in Moto3, if they have more margin with the tyres for it. They try to give penalties in Moto3 because it happens more times and there are many riders waiting. It’s hard because, for me, it’s helping me to do the last step and today I am involved because I got a good reference in front of me, even if I was not totally behind. For me, it’s still part of the game - if not, there is the game of the Superpole, that will give advantage to others, but we lose some show. As long as, I hope, we will not have any accident for it - because if there is an accident, then the things will certainly change - but we all kind of agree that maybe it’s not dangerous at this point and we have to keep it like this. That’s why we also have Q1 and Q2, to have less people on track, the system is not too bad, but sometimes these things happen, you get nervous or because of other riders, you can get disturbed.”

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