Alvaro Bautista set for Le Mans raceday fightback
The French GP will have a popular poleman on Sunday, as home rider Johann Zarco went quickest in qualifying at Le Mans. Zarco’s 1:31.185 lap allowed him to keep Marc Márquez from pole, with Danilo Petrucci rounding off the front row.
It was last year, at this Grand Prix, that Zarco took a place on the front row for the first time. The Frenchman is on a run of nine consecutive races -five this year, four in 2017- starting from the first line of attack, with three of those coming with pole position.
The Ángel Nieto Team have their sights set on fighting their way up through the field at the French Grand Prix. Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham will start the contest at Le Mans from the seventh and eighth rows, respectively, after a qualifying session in which they were just 1.5 and 2 seconds off the best time which gave access to Q2.
Lap times this weekend have been extremely close amongst the MotoGP riders, and Bautista was only 8 tenths off the top time on the combined timesheets for free practice. Both riders suffered crashes in qualifying, which impeded their progress in the session. Despite this, Bautista is confident that he can recover positions at the start, and fight for a place in the Top 10 while maintaining a good pace.
20th Álvaro Bautista 1:33.324:
“It was a crash in which I lost the front end. I was going a little faster than on my fastest lap and I lost the front as a result. It seems like the track has grip, but suddenly you end up on the asphalt. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt. The second bike had a slightly different setup, and I also had to start with the medium tyre, which does not work well for me. It’s a shame because in every practice session we have been getting closer to the top riders, only to crash in qualifying. We are starting from far back, but if I’m able to gain some positions at the start, I think I have a good pace and we could fight for the Top 10.”