Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Johann Zarco produced a superb display in Malaysia to blaze to 3rd and seal the second podium in his rookie season. The notable French star leapt forward from 2nd on the grid and quickly moved into the lead. He remained at the front of the field for eight laps as the rain continued to fall, before eventually meeting the chequered flag inside the top three and as the leading Yamaha rider. The result marks a highly positive close to the triple flyway races and Zarco seeks to repeat the feat at the season finale in Valencia in a fortnight.
— Johann Zarco (@JohannZarco1) October 29, 2017
Zarco: “It was a great race and I am happy to be on the podium again”
“It was a great race and I am happy to be on the podium again. I was a bit worried about riding in the wet because when it rained on Friday, I was not fast and overall, [Marc] Marquez and [Andrea] Dovizioso were pretty quick. I used the soft tyre in order to be safe but also to get some feeling and the lap times during the race were not amazing, yet, they were fast enough to lead and I opened up a gap”, Zarco commented.
“It was good to start the GP in this way. And even though I felt that I couldn’t push anymore, I did enough to stay first. Then, when the two Ducati riders overtook me, I thought about fighting with them. Eventually, I lost too much in acceleration so I had to push a lot on the brakes. Yet, it was too risky and I lost the rear twice. I wasn’t sure about what to do, however. I expected the track to dry a bit, and then I wanted to attempt to catch them, but I was limited. On the last three laps, I ran alone in third, so I decided to stay focused and the result was already pretty good so I chose to be safe and enjoy it!”
Meanwhile, Michael van der Mark produced a fine performance as he battled against the turbulent weather at Sepang. The young Dutch rider began the Grand Prix from the 8th row. He immediately stuck into a formidable rhythm as he pushed through the field. He crossed the finish line in 16th, and ahead of several seasoned MotoGP regulars to close a positive, yet challenging, debut weekend aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
“I am really happy with the result, even though it was typical Malaysia and just before the race commenced, it rained again!”, Van der Mark said
“The team and I changed the bike considerably compared to Friday. Then it was wet and we went softer on the rear. I had quite a good start. And the first half of the GP went very positively as I followed the guys in front of me and I fought with a lot of riders. I’m pleased with my performance, even if I wasn’t completely happy with the bike. But it was only my second time on the YZR-M1 in the wet. In my eyes, to fight for the points and follow Maverick was really amazing. When it dried a little bit, I struggled slightly more than him, yet, I could run a similar pace.”
“I think I lacked a bit of confidence with the turning of the bike. Otherwise, I may have been able to stay with the big group in front of me. I hoped to catch them with Maverick, but I also wanted to finish the race, which I did. Overall, I enjoyed the weekend a lot and my first experience with the YZR-M1 was just amazing.”