Johann Zarco was left disappointed on Saturday afternoon as he was unable to challenge for a top three place in MotoGP qualifying at Mugello, bringing an end his nine-race run of qualifying on the front row.

The double Moto2 world champion could only place ninth in a dramatic MotoGP Q2 session, which saw home hero Valentino Rossi grab a sensational pole position. After a positive Friday, Zarco was hoping to push on a day later.

But he soon found his feeling was not there, a sensation which ultimately caused him to crash out in FP4. “I got nervous,” he admitted. “That was my mistake of the day.”

“I lost the front because it was difficult to go fast. It was sliding in the rear so I tried to compensate it in the entry. But sometimes too fast goes to the crash because it was too unstable.

“But about today, I had great comments on Friday and really expected that on Saturday all these feelings that were quite positive and going could keep improving and find a podium pace, or even a first row performance.

“Finally, we didn’t get it today. It has been even worse so because of that feeling I got nervous, and this was my mistake of the day: getting nervous and not being able to say any comments.

“But from both sides there is something here in Mugello that is complicated to hold. Today we didn’t have it. It’s going to be difficult tomorrow. We are not slow as last position but not fast like the podium pace.

“So tomorrow what’s important is to fight well from the beginning because starting from ninth is not the best place. Then find that base to be easy on the bike and wait for the others to start to struggle.”

Zarco was just one of several names to crash on Michelin’s ‘hard’ option front tyre, which features an asymmetric design. Did he feel this rubber was at fault for his fall?

“No, no. These four [front tyre] options for the front tyre, I cannot say it disturbed our work or it disturbed us. We could try it. I crashed with that compound. But I didn’t crash because of that compound. I crashed because we didn’t have the right balance.”

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