Records are falling at the Losail Circuit ahead of the MotoGP Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar. Johann Zarco of Premac set a new top speed record in MotoGP after topping out at 225.18 mph (362.4 km/h) during the series’ fourth practice session.
It’s important to note that top speed does not denote the fastest average speed over a lap—it’s the highest number ever hit on the speedometer. So, while Zarco absolutely dominated the previous record, he later went off the track. He ultimately set the second fastest lap in the session, as Maverick Viñales had put together a more comprehensive lap.
There are a few different components on Zarco’s Ducati when compared to last year’s machine and the bikes around him. Zarco’s bike has a new aero component that helps the bike turn and possibly even smooths out the air turbulence under the bike, which makes it a lot easier to hit higher speeds without feeling like you’ve been jostled around. The bike also has an altered air intake when compared to other bikes.
Zarco has been hitting new top speeds during the build-up to the race season, clocking in at 222 mph during pre-season testing. All that has given him confidence.
“It’s my time to get victories and podiums,” he said. “Everything is ready. The bike is fast, the team knows perfectly the bike, and me with my experience, I should be able to control any situation, and I hope now it will be the time.”
It certainly sounds like there’s an opportunity for Zarco on the horizon.
Qualifying for the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar also took place this afternoon, with Pecco Bagnaia taking home his first-ever pole position. The top-10 on the grid lining up as follows:
- Francesco Bagnaia
- Fabio Quartararo
- Maverick Viñales
- Valentino Rossi
- Jack Miller
- Johann Zarco
- Franco Morbidelli
- Aleix Espargaro
- Alex Rins
- Joan Mir