Johann Zarco produced a sensational performance at the gruelling Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to finish as the leading Yamaha rider. The rapid rookie began from 14th, but quickly started climbing through the pack as the track reached scorching hot temperatures. Despite the difficult conditions, his blistering pace brought him up to 6th in the closing stages of the race and on the final lap, he overtook his teammate to clinch the leading satellite honours.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger concluded the challenging Grand Prix with a highly commendable 6th place finish. The young gun launched forward from 8th and quickly caught the leading group, whom he notably remained with, in 4th position, for over half of the race distance. In the latter stages, he fought against the extreme lack of grip before powering to the chequered flag and his result extends his 100% point scoring record in the 2017 season, the only rider to do so.
Position: 5th - Championship: 6th - Points: 75
“I am happy with the result but also tired! I think that everyone struggled physically because of the hot weather. With regards to the race, there wasn’t much grip on the track and the tyres dropped. However, this kind of situation is not a big disaster for me and when this happens, I seem to be able to have a better feeling than my opponents. Starting from 14th meant that the opening stage of the race was complicated and I had to fight, plus, it’s easy to touch other riders when it’s like this. I thought that I could catch the leading group during the GP because they were not advancing. Yet, after the halfway point, they were not increasing the gap, but I still couldn’t quite get to them because we were running the same pace as I was. Towards the end, Petrucci crashed, Lorenzo overtook me and opened some distance because he had a better drive and then, Jonas was in front of me. I could see that he was struggling so I kept focused in order to ride a good line and then I attacked him on the last lap. This result is very good for what we need and although it was a difficult weekend, we finished well today so this is really good motivation for the future.”
Position: 6th - Championship: 8th - Points: 51
“It was a very positive but tough weekend and I am so happy that we made a big step forward compared to the last few GP’s. Finally, we made the progress that we wanted to which was to improve in the qualifying and at the beginning of the Grand Prix. By being strong in these two areas, we really advanced and we scored a good result today. However, unfortunately, on the last lap Johann passed me! I was ahead of him for almost the entire race, but then he caught and overtook me. This was the only hard thing for me because I thought that I had him in my pocket. Anyway, the important point is that we advanced and improved so I want to thank all of my team for the work they did to get me back to where I needed to be. They told me that we can do it and today we did.”
“It was an incredible, intense and tough weekend for everyone, but overall, a positive one for us and we are happy. The temperatures were very high, there wasn’t much grip, and there were a lot of question marks. However, both of our guys did great today. For the whole weekend, Jonas has been the fastest Yamaha and this is something that I would like to highlight. He had a great start and remained with the front group for more than half of the race and here, he looked really confident and comfortable. Unfortunately, he lost a bit of time in the end, but his effort this weekend has been very impressive and I have to praise him. Johann meanwhile, did what he does best which is racing and running at a phenomenal pace. Inch by inch he closed the gap to the riders in front and I have to commend him because he is a fighter and he showed it today even if he has a small fracture in his finger. In the end, we had the dream scenario with both of our guys separated by a few thousandths of a second. It was particularly great for Jonas because he knows that he has the pace and he made some good passes. The championship standings are very interesting with Johann only eight points behind Rossi. For Jonas, the best is yet to come and there will be some surprises. I am very proud of our two guys. We have a test tomorrow where we will hopefully find some more solutions and then next up is the Dutch GP.”