Johann Zarco is fired up to make the most of his final chance to seal a dream MotoGP victory in his rookie season in the premier class at Valencia.

The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider qualified on the front row in second place behind Marc Marquez for the fourth successive race, continuing to outperform factory Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Zarco, who was three tenths back on Marquez’s benchmark time following a lap in 1m 30.246s on the satellite M1, is feeling confident after making solid progress from opening practice on Friday and is approaching the final race of the 2017 championship with victory in mind.

“I’m not going in the race with the mindset of nothing to lose but with the good confidence that we did good work from Friday,” Zarco said.

“Something was missing and we improved today, so I am so happy about that and it really means the work that we are doing since Japan, Australia and Malaysia is still paying for us and I tried to learn from that.

“I pushed to do the lap time and I am so happy to start from second place tomorrow, it is so important. All the weekend also [Andrea] Iannone was strong and I know he will attack hard to stay in front. Also Jorge [Lorenzo] will be there because he had the crash in qualifying but he showed that he can be fast and these two guys want the victories and they are not scared to fight.”

Andrea Iannone qualified third on the Ecstar Suzuki with Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo slotting into fourth on the second row, and Zarco feels they will be his chief rivals on Sunday – not pole man Marquez.

“I think Marquez will maybe think it a bit more and he will see the pace he has to control the race and get the title,” he said.

“I’m agreed that Iannone and Lorenzo [will be pushing in the first corner], because Lorenzo starts fast and knows how to go in the first corner and also the second one; we know they are fighters on the track and I will be part of them.

“Losing too many positions on the start will make the 30 laps more difficult, so the best strategy will be to go off first and keep this pace until the end,” added the Frenchman.

“FP4 was quite good but still missing some tenths that I can add tomorrow; why not think about victory.”

If Zarco wins, it will be the first ever MotoGP victory by a satellite Yamaha rider.


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