Not even a best qualifying result of the season could please Johann Zarco in front of an expectant home crowd, as the Frenchman admitted to feeling “on fire inside” as he failed to qualifying for MotoGP Q2 at Le Mans.

Zarco was one of a many riders that was caught out by the window to fit slick tyres during Q1 and take advantage of a drying track before the rain returned and intensified.

As a result he was 14th and unable to take on the class’ top twelve. Going off his feel in the wet, the 28-year old even went as far as claiming a repeat of his famous pole position here a year ago was possible.

“Best position and best QP [of the season] from the beginning,” began Zarco. “Disappointed and angry after the Q1 because we missed the strategy, not about the slicks because what Valentino did was very clever, but even with the rain tyres.

“I left the box with the slick and it was too late to do something. It was a shame. It was conditions where I felt good after a long time struggling and I think we could have played for Pole Position today.

“To miss the Q2 I was on-fire inside. But, positive for tomorrow, I think in mixed conditions we have the chance to do a good race.

“It is also the first time since I have been on the KTM that I can feel some strong points on the bike and this gives me a smile and a good motivation to feel that what we do is working. 14th for tomorrow and hopefully the best for the race.

“On Friday I was saying it didn't matter for me because the work is the same. Today I would prefer to have wet conditions because the KTM had some strong points that I would like for the race tomorrow in the case that it is wet.

“In the case of dry then 14th is still what I have done better than before so I can think about the top ten.”

Asked to clarify whether he truly felt a pole position was possible, Zarco said, “Yeah, I said that because there were tricky conditions and the experience from Moto2 and also MotoGP when there is not full rain but dry enough for slick I can go pretty fast.

“In the Q1 on the first tyre I did not do everything perfect but I was quite competitive. With another tyre it would have been possible to make Q2 and with the lap-times they were doing I would be been competitive for pole position.

“Don't forget the target is to be at the top and when we have a day when something is possible then you must trust and remember this target.

“For sure if I could start from something like sixth is very good but we want to be at the top and today after five months of problems and hard feelings it was possible to turn the situation upside down. It would have been fantastic, but, not yet so we’ll keep focussed.”

What conditions would he then favour for Sunday’s race? “It’s the best chance to overtake riders, have a constant race and be on the top. I cross fingers for these conditions and to have a good race tomorrow.

“But it looks like the mixed conditions I’ll be able to find back my strong points from the years before. Starting from 14th you have to overtake a lot!

“Normally I am a soft rider who does not use much of the tyre and that's why in mixed condition I was always having mixed feeling. Now to feel this on the KTM really brings me a smile that we are working and the feeling is coming.”

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