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.


Johann Zarco
Position: 8th - Championship: 6th - Points: 125


 

Johann Zarco - 2017“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.”


Kohta Nozane
Position: DNF - Championship: Not classified


 

Kohta Nozane - 2017"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!"


Hervé PONCHARAL
Team manager


 

“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.”

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Johann Zarco delivered a master class performance today to clinch a superb second pole position in his rookie MotoGP season. The French star progressed through to Q2 courtesy of his FP2 time, and here, he battled against the drying yet slippery track, before storming to the top on his penultimate lap. Tomorrow, the highly impressive rookie seeks to scoop his second podium of the year at Yamaha’s home Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, Kohta Nozane, who is standing in for Jonas Folger at this round, endured a challenging qualifying campaign after experiencing a crash in FP4. The young Japanese rider tried to persevere in the Q1 shootout but he was forced to abort due to a hand injury. Nevertheless, Nozane aims to compete in the race, which begins at 14:00 local time, or 07:00 in central Europe.


Johann Zarco
Position: 1st - Time: 1'53.469 - Laps: 7


Johann Zarco - 2017“I am so happy about this pole position. The team and I did some great work since FP1. There, it was raining all the time, and I think that I improved the feeling of the bike a lot, plus I have grown up in this condition. For qualifying, it was a bit different because the track was drying, but not enough to use the slick tyres. However, I knew that I could feel really good and try things in order to be faster than my opponents in these conditions. It worked and I am so happy for that. Now, I need to use this opportunity to stay in front, whether it rains or not, and do the best race that I can and I will dream about the podium.”


Kohta Nozane
Position: 24th - Time: 2'01.730 - Laps: 2


Kohta Nozane - 2017"In the practice this morning, I struggled with the choice of tyre, and in the end, my position was not so good. Then in FP4, it went well at the beginning of the session, but I pushed a bit too much because I wanted to improve from the morning practice and I crashed after making a mistake. I have a small fracture in my right hand, but I tried to run in Q1 for one lap, yet I had to cancel. I am sorry to Yamaha and Tech3 but I will try my best to come back for the race."

Johann Zarco showed his formidable form in the wet by closing the opening day of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan in 5th position. With rain expected for the entire weekend, Zarco got straight into gear and began undertaking the key setup work in preparation for Sunday’s race. He notably finished the day only 0.407 back from the top three and as the leading independent rider. 

Meanwhile, Kohta Nozane, who is stepping in for Jonas Folger at this round, lit up the Twin Ring Motegi circuit with a highly promising display on his MotoGP debut. The young Japanese rider delighted his home crowd by powering to 13th in the afternoon and now he confidently awaits the second day of action, which begins with FP3 at 09:55 local time or 02:55 in central Europe.


Johann Zarco
Position: 5th - Time: 1'55.468 - Laps: 31


Johann Zarco - 2017“I am feeling good and I’m happy to be in Japan. It’s a shame to have the bad weather, however, I think that it could be an advantage for me. FP1 went well but then it was even better this afternoon. The others riders were really fast and Dovizioso rode an incredible lap time, yet I am not far back from him so I am pleased. I still need to work more with the team in order to feel as strong as possible on the bike because you can be fast for one lap, but the most important thing is to be quick on every lap, especially if it rains. I am working on it and I need to keep focused so let's see if we can improve in FP3 tomorrow, however, to be in the top ten at the moment is the main point. When it rains, it can be quite tough on a full power MotoGP bike because of the water on the track and there’s a lot of spinning. Yet, we can see that the tyres are working really well and, along with the suspension and the bike, we have a strong feeling because this circuit has very good grip. If it stays like this for Sunday, it will be advantageous but we are working positively already.”


Kohta Nozane
Position: 13th - Time: 1'56.453 - Laps: 35


Kohta Nozane - 2017"Day one went quite well and it was enjoyable as well as exciting to compete against the fast MotoGP riders and this is good. I am confident in myself and although it is only the first day and it’s too early to say which position I will finish in, I feel positive. Motegi is my local racetrack as my home is not so far from here. Tomorrow, it will be cloudy and the conditions could be dry, so the other riders will be faster. However, I am really enjoying this moment and I will try my best for the race on Sunday."

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