After Hafizh Syahrin was able to secure his best ever starting spot on the MotoGP grid, the Malaysian rookie started the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in a decent way, but concluded the first lap just in 13th. On the second lap of the race, he was even faster than the front and thereby, made up one position after another. In the sixth lap he reached 8th and was set to bring home what could have been his best premier class result yet, but unfortunately crashed out after 19 of 27 laps of the race.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Johann Zarco came off the line well, following his second consecutive front row start, but got stuck in traffic during the first lap, which saw him returning in ninth position. The fast Frenchman fought hard within the leading group and made up ground step by step. While trying to pass Marc Marquez, he went too hot into the first corner, which unluckily brought his race to an early conclusion.
Position: DNF – Championship: 18th– Points: 34
“Until lap 19 I had a good race. I just lost the front because I tried to close again on Miller. In the straight it is just impossible, as the Ducati just passes very easily. The guys and myself, we are already working very hard with our package, which is a bit different to the rest of the Yamahas. I was fighting with the faster group in the front, but it was just technically impossible to keep up with them, although I was pushing very hard. It’s a great pity to crash on the 19th lap. Anyway, we keep pushing, working hard and believing in ourselves because my team and me work very hard to be strong in the race. We tried to use our speed for a good result, but in the end we didn’t have a chance to fight with the rest of the riders in front.”
Position: DNF – Championship: 7th – Points: 133
“It was a bit cold today, but the sunshine made it a nice day. Starting from third position was a good advantage. I got a good start, but in the second corner I slide with the rear and a few guys had the same, I lost a few positions, but then I was really feeling quite ok to attack and try to overtake. I’m happy about the feeling that I was strong and did some good passes. After a few laps, I was still feeling pretty good, I got the slipstream of Jack Miller and Marc Marquez was also there. We were going so fast and when we were braking for corner one, I touched the rear wheel of Marc and totally flew away. I had a big crash, but I’m okay, which is the most important thing, as that crash was really fast It’s a shame about the race, because finish the race would have been important for the independent riders’ championship, but I didn’t. The crash was big and I am sorry that Marc could not finish the race. Thank you to my team, because the bike was competitive today! I did a mistake and I need to make up for it on the next two rounds.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“There are some days you wish what you see is a dream – or rather a nightmare. But unfortunately, what we saw today was reality. We had high hopes with a great Qualifying from both of our riders, Johann on the front row and Hafizh with his best ever Qualifying in 10th. The start was difficult as usual, it was a big pack as we saw in the other two classes and clearly, Johann was trying to find his way through the field after a bit hectic lap one. We could see that he was really fast and I think he wanted to use the advantage of the soft-soft choice he had made for front and rear and that was quite intense until that incident, which was unbelievable. When you see a rider going down at such a high speed – I think he touched the ground at 280 km/h – for the few seconds following the incident, you just hope nothing bad will happen. Johann had a really good reflex and although his bottom is quite sore, he was strong to walk back to the garage and be still fully fit and ready to race the next round. That was a big thing. Unfortunate for the fans and the racing overall, Marc and Johann were out of the race, which made it less exciting. So, our focus went on Hafizh, who was behind the leading group until he slowly los the contact. But he was still holding on a good eighth position and we were quite happy because although he was loosing ground he was still keeping a good pace and he crashed without any warning, without really understanding why. That was the end of our weekend. Both of our riders could have been really strong and both of them get no points, which is a big disappointment. I know you always have to keep up the ‘never-give-up-attitude’, but today it is hard, also with Remy in the Moto2 class. The only good thing is, our riders are fit, ok and we have a race next week.”