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Falling star Zarco lands pole for German MotoGP

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Despite a spectacular fall, Frenchman Johann Zarco landed his sixth career MotoGP pole position and first of the season Saturday for the German Grand Prix.

Zarco lands pole for German MotoGP

Ducati-Pramac rider Zarco, currently second in the overall rankings, edged out compatriot and the championship leader so far this season, Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha by just 0.011secs.

Zarco, the Moto2 world champion in 2015 and 2016, fell after setting the fastest time but the 30-year-old from Cannes soon got to his feet.

Spain’s Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro completes the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race as he gave his stable its first front row placing in the elite class since 2000.

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Six-time world champion Marc Marquez also qualified, taking a season’s best fifth place as he comes back from a long injury absence.

He came in just behind Australian Ducati racer Jack Miller, currently third in the standings.

Catalan Grand Prix winner and Portuguese KTM rider Miguel Oliveira will complete the second row of the grid after placing sixth in qualifying.

“Everything worked out — it’s a great position to celebrate Veronika’s birthday,” beamed Zarco as he dedicated his showing to his partner. 

Quartararo admitted to having endured “a spot of difficulty” but insisted he had found his overall rhythm.

Zarco currently has 14 points to make up on Quartararo after the frustration of four second-placed finishes at Qatar (twice), Le Mans and Montmelo.

But he managed to pull off pole despite losing control of his bike at turn 4 to tumble into an airfence and his rival was unable to respond in the little time left.

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Jorge Martin of Ducati-Pramac, Pol Espargaro (Honda), Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) meanwhile also bagged top ten qualifying finishes.

– Rossi, Mir struggle –

Uber-veteran and seven-time category champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha-SRT), will meanwhile have to be content with 16th place on the grid Sunday.

Rossi, 42, wasn’t the only experienced head to find it hard to keep up with the pacesetters as Spanish title holder Joan Mir of Suzuki will set off 17th on Sunday, suggesting a struggle to hold down his fifth place in the season standings.

Mir has yet to win this campaign.

Italian vice-champ Franco Morbidelli will also have to plot some heroics from the back of the grid after he could only take 18th spot on his Yamaha-SRT while Quartararo’s Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales lines up down in 21st.

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In Moto2, Spain’s Raul Fernandez continued to show his progression with a third season pole to suggest he can build on the two victories which have him on the shoulder of season leader Remy Gardner.

Czech teen racer Filip Salac pulled off his first ever career pole in Moto3 while category season leader Pedro Acosta will set off in a disappointing 13th, outpaced Saturday by among other 16-year-old French debutant Lorenzo Fellon, who managed to qualify in sixth.

Saturday’s qualifying came a day after a ceremony to remember Swiss rider Jason Dupasquier, who died on May 30 after an accident during qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix.

His race number 50 has been retired from the Moto3 category.

© Agence France-Presse

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