Johann Zarco commenced the season with a breathtaking performance at the Losail International Circuit. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider was shining brighter than the floodlights in the first 17 of 22 laps with a superior lead during the first MotoGP round of the year. Struggling with his tyres, the French star had to give the top away towards the end to eventually finish in 8th position.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin was 17th after the first lap of his first ever premier class race and bravely fought with partly much more experienced riders to cross the line in 14th. Therewith, the talented rookie brought home the first ever MotoGP points for his native country Malaysia.  


Johann Zarco

Position: 8th - Championship: 8th - Points: 8


Zarco - 2018“I had a nice weekend! The race has been good. To start from pole position was a great feeling and a good opportunity to take to fight with the top guys. I had a good start and I took over the top, because I wanted to lead the race and then I was quite comfortable there, not able to be faster than the others, but nobody overtook me. I tried to control the rear grip well, to have always some possibilities to go out from the corner, which was working well. Then, seven laps to the end, I tried to push a bit more to maybe make a gap, but already during the race I had some limit feeling from the front, that I didn’t experience during the practice. When the other guys overtook me five laps to the end, I really understood, that I wasn’t able to use the front tyre on the right side anymore in the correct way, which is why I couldn’t fight. It was really difficult, a few times, I almost crashed and to finish eighth in the end, was better than nothing, because in this condition, it’s good to finish the race at all.”


Hafizh SYAHRIN

Position: 14th - Championship: 14th - Points: 2



Syahrin - 2018“I felt really good in the race. I want to say a huge thank you to my team, because they did a great job. I finished my first MotoGP race inside the points, which is even beyond my target, but when you put your focus and your motivation there, it is possible. Around seven laps to go, I changed the power of the bike and four laps later, I switched back again. It’s also a huge part of my learning curve to understand the electronics. I was a bit nervous in the race, I didn’t want to make any mistake and end up in the gravel. I finished the race and brought two points for the team, which makes me truly happy. I hope, I can improve more in the next race and I continue training hard in order to be more ready and give the challenge to the rest of the riders.”


Hervé PONCHARAL

Team Manager


“An amazing round one in Qatar for the MotoGP and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team! With the pole position, we were very pleased last night, but we knew, that the most difficult part was coming on race day. Honestly, I expected a tough fight, but I didn’t expect Johann to lead the race for the main time. He was looking quite comfortable. I can’t deny the fact, that I was starting to think that there is a possibility to finally win a race, but we could see, that he was struggling. We thought, that the tyres were the reason and he confirmed that. There was nothing he could do, just stick on the bike and hold on to the flag. Eight people were in the front group, which was quite close. Finally, it’s quite sad to end up last of that group, but on the other end, we have to be optimistic and see the glass half full and not half empty. There is a lot of positives. He’s here, he’s going to fight and I’m quite sure, that he’ll be again pushing for this victory, that is his and the whole team’s dream. On the other side of the garage, I think, we have to be more than happy, because Hafizh produced an unbelievable performance all through the weekend. His qualifying was great, although the start was not ideal. But it was his very first GP start and we told him, not to do any mistakes. So, he lost a few positions, but recovered. He was fighting hard with a lot of top guys and ended up with two points, which is an amazing performance. For sure, the improvement margin is huge, but anyway, big congratulations to him, big congratulations to Johann and the entire team, because everybody works really, really hard. This is not the end of the weekend, we would have hoped for, but we have to accept that this is part of the game and we have to focus now on having a rest and being ready for Argentina.”

Johann Zarco phenomenally sealed the pole position ahead of the first round of the 2018 season with the fastest ever lap on two wheels at the Losail International Circuit. With his remarkable time of 1’53.680 minutes, the superb Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider broke the 10-year-old track record at the venue in Qatar, after going straight through to Q2.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin concluded his third Free Practice remarkably well inside the top 15. In his first ever premier class qualifying the Malaysian rookie showed an extraordinary effort to maintain the 15th position and is eager to start his first race in the MotoGP category from the fifth row on the grid, when the lights go out at 19:00 local time tomorrow.


Johann Zarco

Position: 1st - Time: 1’53.680 - Laps: 7

Zarco - 2018“I’m really happy, it’s truly the best way to start the season. I had a crash in FP4. I came away with no harm, but it’s not funny to be down before the qualifying. Anyway, I knew that with new tyre and light bike, I feel good and since this morning, I got back my feeling, that I had during the test here. Beating the lap record makes me really proud. Tomorrow is the main day. I want to try to win, try to be on the podium. It looks like my pace over the distance is not the best one, but at least starting from pole is the best chance to catch a good result.”


Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 15th - Time: 1’55.258 - Laps: 7
 


Syahrin - 2018“I felt really good today. I think I could have done even better, because in turn nine I went a little bit wide. Without this, I’m sure I would have been able to be a tenth of a second faster. But anyway, the 15th position to start my first ever MotoGP race is really great for me. Apart from that, I’m also very happy about the great work inside the team. Now, I fully focus on the race and hope that I won’t do any mistake during the 22 laps.” 


The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair kicked off the racing year with some great achievements today at the Losail International Circuit. During the first Free Practice session both, Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin adapted quickly to the hot conditions in Qatar, before the impressive floodlights delivered similar circumstances to the test some days ago in FP2.

Thereby, Zarco displayed a solid performance to finish the first day of action inside the top 10, just 0.059 seconds behind fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. Meanwhile Syahrin showed his outstanding talent in being the fastest rookie in his first ever MotoGP Free Practice session. The Malaysian concluded Friday 1.542 seconds behind his team mate and is eager to further improve in FP3, which takes place on Saturday at 14:35 local time.


Johann Zarco
Position: 10th - Time: 1'54.912 - Laps: 33


Zarco 2018"For the first day in Qatar it is quite ok to be inside the top 10. I experienced some issues, which made it difficult to find the same great feeling like I had during the test here. I tried to keep calm and work. It’s just small details, because the balance of the bike is good, but to be as fast as the top guys, we need to understand better how the grip level is changing. We’re working on it and I know that we need to improve tomorrow to be competitive and ready for Q2."


Hafizh Syahrin
Position: 22nd
 - Time: 1’56.454 - Laps: 33


Syahrin - 2018"In the first Free Practice, I had a lot of confidence and felt really comfortable on the bike. I’m not sure why my feeling was not as good as in FP1 in the second session. We used the soft tyre for the first time, but couldn’t improve a lot. In the end, we went one tenth of a second faster than in the first session. Now, we try to understand the situation, I know, that I have to stay calm and that I have to try to understand the telemetry, therefore I’ll speak with my guys tonight. Anyway, I’m very positive. For tomorrow, I aim to improve further."

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