MotoGP: Incredible Zarco takes debut pole position

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MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco has taken an incredible debut pole position in tricky conditions at the Dutch TT, holding off a late charge from reigning world champion Marc Marquez to take the top spot for the very first time.

Marking the first French premiere class podium since Oliver Jacque last did it for the Tech 3 Yamaha team in 2002, Zarco eventually ended the day a mere 0.065 ahead of the Spaniard, with Italian Danilo Petrucci, who led much of the session, a further 0.3 back.

Valentino Rossi just missed out on a front row start in fourth, demoted by his friend Petrucci by 0.179, and leads a row of Scott Redding on the second Pramac Ducati and Jonas Folger on the second Tech 3 Yamaha. Alvaro Bautista was another strong satellite Ducati performance in seventh, ahead of al Crutchlow and the factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso.

Sam Lowes also had the best qualifying performance of his career in tenth, but missed out on the chance to improve even further after progressing from qualifying one when yet another engine failure for the Noale manufacturer left the factory rider in a cloud of smoke and oil half way through qualifying two.

Maverick Viñales and Dani Pedrosa were a disappointing eleventh and twelfth after struggling to find grip in the wet conditions – a problem shared by the second factory Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo, who struggled to his worst ever MotoGP qualifying in 21st place.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer