Johann Zarco kicked off his quest to complete the season finale on the rostrum with a strong showing on the first day of action. The French star improved in both sessions before concluding the afternoon practice in 5th with his best time leaving him only 0.105 back from the top three, and as the leading Yamaha rider. Tomorrow he intends to progress further by sealing a front row start in qualifying.
Meanwhile, Michael van der Mark, who is stepping in for the recovering Jonas Folger, used the initial practice sessions to get to grips with the meandering Valencia circuit. The WorldSBK front-runner made leaps forward and wrapped up the day with a time that was almost one and a half seconds quicker than his personal best in the morning. Tomorrow, the action commences at 09:55 with FP3.
Position: 5th – Time: 1’31.054 – Laps: 43
“I am happy with what we achieved today and I started well, with a good pace. We did some constructive work with the medium tyres, which enabled us to save the soft compound until later. When we used it, I improved my time, but, to be honest, I expected a bit more. However, I am inside the top ten which is the most important thing. I will keep pushing and the information that we collected this afternoon will be useful for qualifying. I am pleased that we had dry and clear weather today and it should be the same for the entire weekend. Anyway, I am enjoying my time here and I hope to stay with the top guys tomorrow in order to prepare for a positive Sunday.”
Michael van der Mark
Position: 25th – Time: 1’33.101 – Laps: 48
“Overall, it was a good first day despite the fact that I had to get used to the bike again, and I haven’t raced here for a long time. In the first session I struggled with the feeling a bit, but towards the end, I managed to improve gradually even if the gap to the front was quite big. In FP2 this afternoon, I felt stronger and more comfortable on the bike, then, in the final part of the practice, we put some new tyres on and I made a good step forward. However, it wasn’t as big as I wanted, but we can see that we are making real progress. I am enjoying every single lap, and hopefully tomorrow we can adjust the bike a little bit more to my style.”