Johann Zarco’s strong effort at the gruelling Aragon Grand Prix earned him a 9th place finish today under the scorching Spanish sun. The French star leapt forward from 11th and he immediately set into a formidable and consistent pace. The rookie eventually concluded the race inside the top ten to maintain his position as the leading independent rider in the championship. The result also saw him extend his 100% point scoring record since the opening round.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger closed the challenging weekend with a hard-fought ride to 16th. The young German, who started his 150th Grand Prix today, began from the sixth row and pushed throughout the 23-lap sprint. He delivered a late charge to get to 16th, having moved up six places since the end of the first lap.
Position: 9th – Championship: 6th – Points: 117
“The result is quite good, however, I expected to be stronger in the race with the used tyres, but eventually my opponents were fast too. I got a solid start yet the first few laps were a bit difficult. I tried my best to overtake but in the end, it was not the right opportunity and I lost a lot of positions because I almost crashed. After that, I got a solid feeling but I was limited by the front. This was not because of the tyre because even if it was a soft front, the technicians said that the rubber looked ok after the race. So it means that if I was limited, it was possible that the bike’s balance was not as perfect as I needed it to be to get close to the front. Nevertheless, I am happy about the race and it was another experience, plus good for the championship. I tried to do my best but to finish only 13 seconds back from the top guys is not so far. However, I missed something to stay with this leading group because when they overtook Kallio, they opened a gap and I don’t think I was strong enough then. Anyway, I will learn from it and I need to understand how to use this to be more competitive in the future. I want to improve myself so that I can set the bike up and provide the right information, and also be effective with the team so they can give me the fantastic feeling that you can usually have with the Yamaha.”
Position: 16th – Championship: 10th – Points: 84
“We are all disappointed about the race because I am aiming to stay inside the top ten in the championship and I am fighting against some really fast riders but now we are struggling and finishing in 16th is a shame. I have to get my confidence back and use the two weeks off to rest myself so I can get mentally fresh in order to be better on the bike. We have to look at the championship and I am 14 points ahead of the next rider in the standings, but the target is to get into the top ten. However, I need to be freer when riding just like at the beginning of the year. The issues and the crashes, as well as the points we have lost in the last few rounds, leaves us a bit frustrated and we want to be better. So now I will take it easy because if you try too hard it doesn’t work. I’m sure I will come back refreshed and ready for the action.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“It was a tough weekend in Aragon but I believe that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a great job. We had rain, fog and heat yet, Johann Zarco did very well as usual. It’s not easy for a rookie on this circuit and although he had a crash in FP3, which prevented us from getting into the top ten, he worked really hard for the race in FP4. Johann showed great determination to get into Q2 and despite the fact that the grid position was far from ideal, we knew that he could run a strong rhythm. The start was average and by the end of the first lap he was in 11th, but from that moment, our rider showed remarkable pace and was very consistent. I think every lap was within a second of each other and he was catching a few guys ahead of him before he finished 9th. This was a great reward for the hard work and it consolidates his position as the leading rookie in the championship and also as the top independent rider. Some of his strong rivals didn’t score any points today, which was beneficial for us, especially after the huge disappointment at the last round in Italy. In my opinion, at every event, Johann is showing his level, quality, determination and his efforts are paying off, plus he is one of the hardest working people in this paddock. On the other side of the garage, it was a tough weekend for Jonas. Unfortunately, he never felt really good on the bike and the strange crash in FP3 hurt his neck. There was no real damage but it bothered him. Jonas was quite far down the order on the grid and I don’t think he had much confidence in the early part of the GP because his pace wasn’t as quick as it could be. Let’s not forget that he was on the podium in Germany and he set the fastest lap of the race in Sachsenring and Catalunya. The second half was a bit better today but it was still not close to his level. However, the team and I know his potential so let’s hope that he has a few days off to rest and then mentally understand what is not working. We need two riders and we know that Jonas can be challenging Johann, which is what we want to see as a team. His crew will do everything that they can to give him the confidence and the feeling back and we are all behind him.”