Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Johann Zarco experienced a challenging afternoon to finish the Motul Grand Prix of Japan in 8th. The French star lunged forward from pole position as the rain continued to pour. After relentlessly battling at the front of the field for the opening laps, he settled into a formidable rhythm as he battled against the gruelling conditions. Eventually, he powered across the finish line and now optimistically awaits the Australian Grand Prix next week.
Meanwhile, substitute rider Kohta Nozane endured a tough time after falling in the early stages of the race. The promising young Japanese rider who was riding with a small fracture in his right hand following a crash in FP4 yesterday made progress after the start before unfortunately sliding off on the 4th lap. Monster Yamaha Tech3 would like to thank Nozane for his efforts during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Position: 8th - Championship: 6th - Points: 125
“It was a tough race. I had a good start and the feeling was quite ok at the beginning. However, the rear was sliding a little bit but I was able to control it and overall, the front felt great which allowed me to brake how I wanted to. I was slightly limited with the corner entry yet, on the whole, it was positive. Some riders overtook me but I managed to stay with them, even if I lost a bit in acceleration. This means that we are doing a good job as we can make this same step in the wet as well as the dry. I waited when I was running in 4th and I thought that I would get more confident with the front and then catch the leading group. Yet, the opposite happened and despite the fact that I always felt good on the brakes, the tyres wore, which limited me. By the end of the race, there was a lot of spinning and even though I tried my best to find a solution on the straight by carefully opening and closing the throttle to catch some grip, the other riders got past me. This was why I lost the positions at the end but we will try again in Australia next week.”
Position: DNF - Championship: Not classified
"After the warm-up session, under a local anaesthetic, I decided that I could race today. The track conditions were pretty bad this afternoon when compared to this morning. If I was not injured then I could have managed the GP better, but the fact is that I crashed quite early on. I am frustrated with myself and I have to say sorry to Yamaha and to the entire team. However, these three days have been like a dream and again I would like to thank Yamaha and Hervé for trusting me!"
“Altogether I believe that it has been a positive weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. It was an incredible feeling on Saturday to get the pole position with Johann Zarco for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. This was special for us all and also for our partners, with Motul being the title sponsor for this race and I’m sure it’s something that they enjoyed. We knew that today was going to be very difficult as the conditions were really challenging and almost dangerous. There was a lot of standing water on the track and it never stopped raining. Yet, Johann had a great start and stayed behind the top three for most of the race. However, we knew that the end of the GP would be tricky and Johann quite easily kept the riders behind him until the last five laps, and there we couldn't fight anymore as there was no more grip on the rear tyre. To lose four positions in the final few laps is not something that we can be happy about but 8th is still a good result and we collected some valuable points. Overall, the weekend was positive and I would like to thank Yamaha for looking after us in the way that they did. On the other side of the pit box, Kohta Nozane was really impressive on Friday and we thought that he would eventually be fighting for a top ten finish on race day. Unfortunately, a small mistake at the beginning of FP4 saw him crash and fracture his right hand, which meant it would be very difficult. Yet, he never gave up and worked hard throughout the night to get his hand fixed. The warm-up went well, so we thought it was ok to compete. However, I think it was just a bit too much and he wanted to start his home Grand Prix so we gave Kohta the chance and I’m happy we did. Yet, we were not very confident because we could see how badly his hand was and at such a hard braking circuit, with a fractured right hand, it was almost impossible. I would like to thank him and I think he has shown that he has a really good level and he could be a very successful MotoGP rider in the near future. I don’t know what Yamaha has planned, but it was a pleasure for us to look after Kohta. He is a really nice guy and we would eventually like to give him another chance to show his full potential. Thanks to the whole team and we will pack everything tonight and then head to Australia where we hope there will be no rain.”