Hafizh Syahrin showed up with a brave performance at the home round of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team today. Following a cautious start, the MotoGP newcomer gained ground in the course of the 27 laps, fighting his way through the experienced field impressively to see the chequered flag in 12th position and won the duel against fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli.
Local hero Johann Zarco kicked off the race in an extraordinary way, riding in the top group from the early stages and was determined to celebrate his first premier class win in front of his cheering home crowd. While battling for the lead, the Frenchman unfortunately slipped out on the eighth lap and therefore has to wait for the next round, which takes place in a fortnight in Mugello, Italy, in order to try to make his dream come true.
Position: 12th - Championship: 17th - Points: 13
"In the race I was feeling very good, but it’s a shame that I did a bad start and then I was behind a slow group, I had to pass one by one. I know, that my pace was very strong and I think I could have been inside the top 10 with this, but it’s difficult to pass on this track and you also need to be really brave to pass in the first corner. I tried it many times, but in the end, I lost the faster group in front. This is a nice experience for me and I try to learn and to understand for the next races. Also, my confidence is coming back. In Mugello I hope I can give my best again, I try to stay focused and work hard on my physical condition and my riding."
Position: DNF - Championship: 3rd - Points: 58
"We experienced a difficult end of our home Grand Prix, after having great feelings. Anyway, we take home very nice memories with the pole position and showed a great performance. We worked well and, in the race, I was in second position. My start was quite bad, but in the first chicane I could almost immediately make up the positions again. Afterwards, it was difficult with Lorenzo, maybe I could have been faster, but I just didn’t get through. Later on, I wanted to overtake him, but I did a little mistake. I think I was too fast in that corner, went a bit wider and the front closed. I didn’t expect to crash, because my feeling on the bike was good. I should have maybe wait to have less fuel in the bike, which was the best moment for us during the weekend. Even with used tyres, the control was good and it happened at the beginning of the race. I should have waited a bit longer, but I didn’t do it. Now I have to keep in mind, that sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are not. Yet, I will keep doing what I do all over the world and keep the victory as a target this year."
“The French Grand Prix is over and I can’t tell you that this isn’t a scenario I didn’t think about. Until Saturday night, Johann did the perfect weekend in my opinion, he got this unbelievable pole position, kept his head cool and looked like coping really well with the pressure of the home GP. This morning, we saw another Johann. There was this kind of warning when he crashed together with Lüthi during the Warm Up, which is not what he is normally doing. We could see, that he was nervous, he wanted to convince himself that everything was going well. The Warm Up is always the last time you are on the bike before you start the race, so it was an important moment. For the race, the exit of the grid was bad, but he recovered in the first chicane with an incredible braking maneuver and later on, we saw that Johann was struggling with Lorenzo in acceleration and he had to make up the whole time lost on the brake. Then Marquez came back and they started a three riders battle. I think Johann just kept the brake a bit too much and lost the front. Sure, afterwards you think it was not necessary to try to pass Lorenzo so early, as when the bike gets a bit lighter the pace would have come. I believe there was a podium, but I’m not a guy of ‘if, if, if’. So, we learned, he learned, especially because it’s a shame to do your first DNF after 21 consecutive points finishing races in your home Grand Prix. Anyway, thanks to Johann, thanks to the entire team. I’m sorry for the fans, because they were all dreaming and waiting for at least another podium and we couldn’t deliver, but that’s unfortunately part of the game. We try again next race in Mugello, which could be a bit difficult with the long straight. On the other side, we are very, very happy with Hafizh, who is back to his normal form and was the best rookie. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time behind Morbidelli, otherwise I think a top 10 was highly possible, but the 12thposition and four points is great. Some tests in a few days in Barcelona will for sure help him to understand his MotoGP bike even more, but we are truly pleased with what Hafizh has been doing all weekend long. All the time he has a smile on his face, he is learning and shows a great attention to everything the team is telling him, plus good speed. Finally, we are very proud of him. Let’s pack everything now and head to Barcelona for the next test.”