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.

Johann Zarco
Position: 9th - Championship: 6th - Points: 117

Johann Zarco - 2017“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.”

Jonas Folger
Position: 16th - Championship: 10th - Points: 84

Jonas Folger - 2017"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."

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.”

Johann Zarco will confidently begin the 14th round of the MotoGP World Championship from the 4th row of the grid. The French star endured a challenging morning and went through to Q1, but here, he produced a strong lap time that allowed him to progress into qualifying 2. Zarco carried on his hard work and eventually finished the shootout in 11th yet only 0.587 adrift of the front row.

Meanwhile, Jonas Folger made a heroic effort to qualify in 18th for tomorrow’s race. The young German suffered misfortune this morning whereby he fell heavily in FP3. He was taken to the local hospital and checked for neck injuries but was deemed fit to ride. Folger bounced back by finishing FP4 in 5th, and then went on to complete Q1 in 18th.

Johann Zarco
Position: 11th - Time: 1'48.402 - Laps: 6

Johann Zarco - 2017“I gave everything that I could which was a 1’48.3 lap time in Q1 and I wasn’t able to improve on it in Qualifying 2. It’s difficult when you do your best and end up in 11th but I am still optimistic for the race. After the crash this morning, my confidence was not at its highest. Yet, in FP4 I felt much better because we changed the bike and my feeling really improved. We did a solid job to get through to Q2 but I think we reached our limit in the first qualifying shootout. This is because you need to do a good lap time with the extra grip on the new tyre and we couldn’t use it well enough which is why it was complicated. However, from what we know already, it looks like I have fewer issues on used tyres compared to the other riders and in this case, the gap is lower. This is important for tomorrow, but after the trouble that we had in FP3, it’s good to start from 11th and I will keep this positive thought in my mind.”

Jonas Folger
Position: 18th - Time: 1'49.034 - Laps: 7

Jonas Folger - 2017"It has been a difficult weekend for us so far. I had a strange crash at the first corner in FP3 and then in qualifying, I was not able to improve that much like the other riders did. I am 18th on the grid for the race but before then, I am sure that we can find a solution so that I feel better on the bike. Nevertheless, I hope to collect a lot of points tomorrow and I will do my very best like always."

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Johann Zarco started his Aragon GP campaign with a superb performance to finish as the top Yamaha on the opening day of action in Spain. The French star began the weekend in a highly confident manner in the rain-affected first session, which he impressively concluded inside the top three. He continued the momentum in the afternoon, and powered across the finish line, as the chequered flag fell, to clinch 3rd.

Meanwhile, Jonas Folger resolutely fought against the tricky track conditions as the 14th round got underway. The young German kicked off proceedings with a run to 13th in the morning practice and in FP2, he carried on his work as the asphalt dried before finishing in 18th overall.

Johann Zarco
Position: 3rd - Time: 2'00.320 - Laps: 33

Johann Zarco - 2017“I am pretty happy about the opening day in Aragon. For me, it was good to do my first laps on a MotoGP bike here whilst it was wet. When it’s like this, I can take more time and I don’t need to stress too much. This is because when you have to push from the first lap onwards in the dry, it is quite difficult and then you can get a bit tired by Sunday. Therefore, I’m pleased that it was wet today and also, the feeling was positive. In Misano, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the rain because of the asphalt. Yet, the track is good here and I was able to manage well and improve lap after lap. Even this afternoon, I lost some positions but I kept calm, waited and then pushed at the end of the session. Now, I am ready for tomorrow.”

Jonas Folger
Position: 18th - Time: 2'01.745 - Laps: 28

Jonas Folger - 2017"It was a tricky first day because the weather made things difficult. In the second practice, the track was soaked at the beginning, but then it cleared. So it was not easy to use a wet setting as the circuit was drying at the same time, and then we had to readjust the setup for the dry. For me as a rider, it was not easy to adapt to these conditions. In addition, we didn’t take a lot of risks today, but we tried to work on our wet setting and the main target was to improve, especially in the rain. In the end, we are further back than we would like to be, however, it looks like the weather will be better tomorrow and on Sunday, so we will attack in FP3 and then get closer to the front."


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