Johann Zarco narrowly missed out on a podium finish after battling at the front of the field for the entire Australian Grand Prix. The French star kicked off the race from 3rdand after slipping back, he relentlessly worked his way through the pack before lunging into the lead on the 9th lap. He consistently traded places at the front and eventually just missed out on the podium by 0.016. Nevertheless, his efforts saw him finish 4th and as the Top Independent rider, which sealed the Rookie of the Year title in the MotoGP class.
Meanwhile, Broc Parkes, who stood in for the recovering Jonas Folger, delivered a determined performance in his race debut aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The Australian fought persistently as he diced with the experienced MotoGP riders, before eventually completing the GP in 22nd. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team would like to thank Broc for his efforts and professionalism at the Australian Grand Prix.
Position: 4th – Championship: 6th – Points: 138
“It was an amazing race today in Australia and I am so happy that I could fight for the victory but Marquez broke away at the end, yet I still managed to lead the Grand Prix. After the tricky start, where I had to close the throttle to avoid touching someone, I lost a lot of positions. However, I was strong and I then overtook many riders and it was an amazing feeling. I had some moments on the track that I thought I would never live in my life so it was very good to take this experience. I could also analyse my rivals and see how they were so fast. On the last lap, I was running in 3rd and trying to get 2nd, and I attempted to overtake Rossi at the final corner on the acceleration. I changed my line to pass him and instead of 2nd, I finished 4th. It’s a big shame to miss out on the podium but I need to enjoy what I achieved today.”
Position: 22nd – Championship: Not classified
“I just did not have the rear grip from the start. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a lot of track time this weekend so I struggled a little bit. In the race, I thought I could stay with the Ducati’s and Lowes but unfortunately, I dropped back from them. However, it was hard to come back and I rode on my own for a while. I wanted to do better but I’m happy to have completed my home Grand Prix and to have ridden here in front of everyone. Thank you to Hervé and the entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for giving me this opportunity.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“Phillip Island always produces some unbelievable racing but I think that this one is going to remain as maybe one of the best in MotoGP history. We feared the rain, however, fortunately, it did not happen which allowed the crowd and the viewers to enjoy an incredible show. We were right in the mix at the front and the start was ok but Johann touched Miller so he had to let a lot of people pass to avoid crashing. After that, he showed incredible speed and overtook every other rider to take the lead. Once he was there, he tried to open a gap, yet, it was so difficult because Phillip Island is a slipstream track. We know this as we won the 250cc World Championship with Olivier Jacque against Shinya Nakano in 2000 and the slipstream was highly instrumental. We could see that Johann was losing out on the straight and especially if someone was right behind him. Up until the last lap, he was in a position to fight for 2nd as Marquez broke away in first. Yet, I think he wanted it a bit too much so he tried to pass Valentino on the inside. However, he lost some speed when entering the straight and Maverick, who was behind, took the slipstream past him and we lost the podium by almost nothing. We are in Parc Fermé as the Top Independent rider but we have shown that we can fight at the top. The team did a great job and the suspension, tyres and rider were all perfect, and even if our man was aggressive, it wasn’t too much. Plus, we consolidated 6th position in the championship, which is important. Nevertheless, I am happy but there is a slightly bitter taste in my mouth because a podium was certainly possible. On the other side, I have to thank Broc Parkes a lot as it was not an easy weekend for him due to the fact that he had to learn the YZR-M1 as well as the Phillip Island circuit on the 2017 Michelin tyres. In addition, the track conditions for the entire weekend were difficult but he did well and made almost no mistakes. We knew the race was going to be tough and sure, he needs more track time to be closer to the guys, yet, he was impressive in all departments. I would like to thank him a lot for his professional approach. We never know what will happen in the future, but we met a top rider and a super nice man. So many thanks again to him for what he did for Monster Yamaha Tech3.”