After a truly memorable performance in Australia, Johann Zarco aims to challenge for a podium finish in Malaysia to strengthen his attempt to complete the year as the Top Independent rider in the World Championship. Meanwhile, the WorldSBK front-runner Michael van der Mark will replace the recovering Jonas Folger at the round 17 event. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 would like to warmly welcome the promising young Dutch rider, who will be making his MotoGP debut. The action begins this Friday at 09:55, or 03:55 in central Europe.
Championship: 6th - Points: 138
“Sepang is a nice track, and I believe my experience after almost a full season, will be useful having tested there at the beginning of the year. The Australian GP was amazing and I am so happy about the feeling that I had on the bike in the race. Therefore, I hope to fight for the podium or even the victory again with the tops guys this weekend. The weather will be difficult as it is always so hot in Malaysia. This is why I need to prepare and manage myself well with the team and save my energy so that I can be strong in the GP. I will take it easy but I aim to battle for the podium once more.”
Michael van der Mark
"It goes without saying that I am really excited. I came quite close to getting the opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike a few weeks ago, but it didn’t work out. Then Hervé called, and although I will have a busy schedule, I could not say no to this chance. I am very happy and I look forward to this adventure. Luckily, I know Sepang, but the MotoGP riders have done a lot of tests there this year, so everyone will be fast. However, I just want to enjoy this weekend, to improve myself and see how it is to ride the YZR-M1. At the moment we have some good momentum in World Superbikes so I think it is the perfect time to jump on the Yamaha. I look forward to riding the bike and I want to thank Hervé and Yamaha for this opportunity."
“After the crazy Phillip Island weekend, it’s good to know that we have a day and a half to recover because everyone is drained and we have no more energy! The team and I are looking forward to Sepang as you can imagine, after the unbelievable race that Johann had in Australia. He missed the podium by 0.016, which is something that was impressive but slightly disappointing. Sepang is a track that he likes a lot and it is where he won his second Moto2 title last year. We had some really encouraging tests there in the winter and we intend to carry on the momentum from the last round. I hope Johann can fight for the top five in qualifying as well as in the race and this will be important. One good thing, as we announced in Australia, is that he is now the MotoGP Rookie of the Year, which was his main mission for the 2017 season. The second objective now that we have to do, if possible, is to win the Top Independent rider position in the championship, but we realise that Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci will give us a hard time. We will work towards this. On the other side of the garage, once again we have a new rider that we are very proud and happy to announce. Michael van der Mark will replace Jonas for this race and he is a young and extremely talented rider from the Netherlands. Michael is part of the factory Yamaha WorldSBK team and he almost replaced Valentino at the Aragon GP, but it didn't happen for obvious reasons! Now he has a chance with us to see what the YZR-M1 is like and to show what he can do. He will have a strong teammate and an experienced crew so I am sure that he can make the best out of it. I hope that he will gain a sweet memory from his time with us by getting a good result on Sunday. Sepang is a track that he knows, having ridden there in the WorldSBK league, so we want to welcome him to Monster Yamaha Tech3 and let's see what happens.”