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MotoGP French GP: Zarco sets new lap record, Mir misses Q2 cut

By Lewis Duncan

Perfect conditions to start Saturday’s action at Le Mans meant lap time improvements on the combined order started to come in early, though there were no major movers.

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin was the first significant name to make an improvement to 10th on the combined order in the early stages of the 45-minute session, with six-time world champion Marc Marquez going to 12th briefly on the Honda after a tough Friday.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami did make a major jump up to fourth with around 20 minutes remaining, but his 1m31.471s was cancelled for exceeding track limits, dropping him back to 15th.

A few minutes later, home hero Fabio Quartararo moved to second on his Yamaha with a 1m31.214s, while Marquez – who shadowed the reigning world champion – jumped up to fourth.

On his next tour, Quartararo smashed the lap record which had already been beaten by Enea Bastianini on Friday with a 1m30.847s.

Moving 0.198s clear of the field, with Ducati’s Jack Miller his nearest rival, Quartararo’s lap did come under pressure with just over two minutes to go from the sister factory team Ducati on Bagnaia.

The Italian followed that lap through to go top with a 1m30.568s, as Marquez exited pitlane behind Quartararo for their final runs.

Marquez, who felt simply getting into the top 10 in FP3 would be a good result, managed to improve to a 1m30.948s to go third behind Quartararo – who did not better his previous time.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing (Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images)

On his final lap, Quartararo looked to cement second with a 1m30.682s as Marquez found a bit more time in fourth with a 1m30.785s to safely get into Q2.

But it was France’s other hero Zarco who lit up the timing screens on his last effort on the Pramac Ducati to snatch top spot with a 1m30.537s.

This dislodged Bangaia, who remained second at the chequered flag ahead of Quartararo and Marquez, with Miller fifth.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro made a late improvement to sixth to bag his place in Q2, with Nakagami eighth.

Alex Rins sneaked into the top 10 at the death with a 1m31.087s in eighth, though Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir failed to follow him into the direct Q2 places down in 13th.

Pol Espargaro held onto a place in Q2 in ninth on his Honda despite a crash at Turn 6 earlier in the session, with Friday pacesetter Bastianini 10th by virtue of his FP2 effort after the Gresini Ducati rider's session was interrupted by a late mechanical issue.

Martin was denied a place in Q2 by 0.003s, with Rins’ late improvement also proving detrimental to Maverick Vinales’ hopes on the second Aprilia in 12th.

KTM’s miserable Le Mans weekend continued on Saturday morning as Brad Binder emerged as the top RC16 in 15th, 0.816s off the pace, with team-mate Miguel Oliveira only managing 18th.

Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP French GP gets underway at 2:10pm (1:10pm BST) later today.

MotoGP French GP FP3 results

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 France Johann Zarco Ducati 21 1'30.537  
2 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 22 1'30.568 0.031
3 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 20 1'30.682 0.145
4 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 20 1'30.785 0.248
5 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 21 1'30.837 0.300
6 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 20 1'30.986 0.449
7 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 22 1'31.062 0.525
8 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 20 1'31.087 0.550
9 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 17 1'31.102 0.565
10 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 22 1'31.151 0.614
11 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 19 1'31.169 0.632
12 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 21 1'31.228 0.691
13 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 22 1'31.228 0.691
14 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 20 1'31.353 0.816
15 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 21 1'31.403 0.866
16 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 18 1'31.539 1.002
17 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 18 1'31.593 1.056
18 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 20 1'31.699 1.162
19 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 21 1'31.716 1.179
20 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 23 1'31.847 1.310
21 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 18 1'31.887 1.350
22 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 22 1'32.002 1.465
23 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 15 1'33.083 2.546
24 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 19 1'33.241 2.704
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