Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco delivered a solid third round of 2018, fighting for the podium at the beginning of the race. A few struggles over the course of the weekend at the demanding Texan venue didn’t prevent the determined Frenchman from battling bravely to eventually cross the line as the fastest independent team rider in 6th, taking home precious points in the World Championship.
On the other side of the garage, Hafizh Syahrin overcame a scary moment this morning and started his third ever MotoGP race with high courage. The Malaysian rushed forward in an incredible way, making up four positions on the first lap, before he challenged some more experienced riders, but unfortunately did a mistake in turn one on the eighth lap to finish the race early.
While Syahrin is still the leading rookie of the MotoGP World Championship, Monster Yamaha Tech3 claims the top of the independent teams with 47 points, before settling over to Spain, where the European season is set to commence in less than a fortnight.
Position: 6th – Championship: 5th – Points: 38
“It was a difficult weekend. After a good qualifying, I didn’t start well. Before the race I was crossing my fingers for the podium, but I think the others just did a better job. I knew where my weak points were on the track, but I tried to maintain the gap and play with it, but it was too difficult. This doesn’t mean I struggled with the tyres, because the pace from the start till the end was quite constant, only not fast enough. When Dovizioso overtook me a few laps to the end, I couldn’t match his pace. I expected to fight with him, but my weak points were worse than his. So, it means finishing sixth, when I’m struggling a lot is a lot better than nothing.”
Position: DNF – Championship: 13th – Points: 9
“I felt really strong at the start of the race, but maybe I was pushing a bit too much on the brakes. I had some great sensations and a truly good pace, but honestly, I’m a bit disappointed for myself. This morning we had a huge crash and didn’t try a different setup, therefore we had to go back to the Free Practice settings and the bike was quite soft. Anyway, I was one of the strongest rookies on this difficult track, but leaving it a bit defeated to lose the points of round three. I just lost the front, which was maybe because I tried to fight with a Ducati, which is very fast on the straight, so I tried to make up for it on the brake. Yet, I’m sure to be back strong at the next race.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“We knew this track was not the easiest one for us, plus the weather didn’t help. Overall, it’s been a tough weekend, but I think Johann as usual and as always showed great determination, worked really hard, pushed hard and got a fantastic qualifying position, that allowed us to eventually start from the front row. He had a good start, but we could see that the top 4 guys had a better pace than us. Then we concentrated on keeping our head down. He did that very well, but we also knew that Dovizioso has a strong bike, is a clever rider and to be in front for so many laps is never an advantage. We could understand that we’re going to lose the battle for fifth, but very wisely Johann took the 10 points for sixth, finishing as the first independent rider. A full factory bike has clearly an advantage on a track like this, so we are very proud. Now we arrive in Europe, where for sure Jerez and Le Mans will be more favorable for us and we can only go back to Europe happy with the job done so far this year. On the other hand, I feel really sorry for Hafizh, who did another excellent weekend. It could have been a really strong finish, but the crash in the warm up trying a new tyre brought him almost out of contention. Bravely he wanted to start the race, he did, he was fast, up to eleventh position, but he made a small mistake that caused him the crash. Anyway, he is still leading the rookie classification, which we are very proud of. He’s learning and I think will be very strong in Spain and France. Get well soon, Hafizh, look at your body and recover well! See you all in beautiful Andalusia!”