Johann Zarco was inadvertently helped by fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo on his way to claiming top spot during MotoGP free practice two in Catalunya. 

The Pramac rider put his top time down to following Quartararo as ‘alone I would have been in the top ten’. 

Zarco was seventh at the time of his fastest lap which was just enough to pip Franco Morbidelli

It was a position that Zarco might have remained in without the help of Quartararo, as the 1m 39.2s lap time was around half a second quicker than he thought was possible on his own. 

Speaking after the opening day, Zarco said: "I’m happy to lead the classification. Since the morning I got a good feeling. We start with a good base on the bike, then a few things we tried to improve, but in the moment we still did not find it. 

"But at least with the base of the bike I can be fast. Clearly the last two laps  we have seen that following Fabio [Quartararo] has been a huge help to be first and to do this 39.2. 

"Alone I would have been in the top ten, maybe a 39.6, 7, 8, was possible, but to be able to follow Fabio on the fast lap at the end was pretty interesting. 

"Almost like in Mugello to see nice things and try then to give these comments to develop the bike. So I’m happy with this first day; it’s a track for me that’s kind of easier because you don’t need to push as in Mugello - make the bike work - so then you save energy and you can think even more about the pace for the race on Sunday. 

"It was very hot today, like something heavy hot that makes a lot of humidity and we didn’t try all the tyres. But it seems that the hard rear can work pretty well. We need to confirm it tomorrow."

Most of the riders throughout the day were seen using the medium front and rear including Zarco. 

The 30 year-old said this is because riders are saving the soft which can be an ‘option for the race’, while wanting to analyse the hard tyre. 

"I think most of the riders used the medium rear as a way to save the top tyres," added Zarco. 

"On the grip of the tyres, the soft tyres can be an option for the race so that’s why we and most of the riders try to save the soft, also for FP3 and qualifying. 

"But some riders tried the hard and even Oliveira did his fast lap with the hard rear. That’s kind of a sign that we need to analyse."