Johann Zarco rocked the Austrian hills and delivered a highly impressive performance to clinch 5th and the top independent honours in the memorable round 11 fight. The French star began the Grand Prix from the rear of the second row and immediately fought in the leading group when it began. He broke the race lap record on the 6th lap and superbly held off a late charge from Maverick Viñales before powering across the finish line to record his sixth top five result in his rookie year.

On the other hand, Jonas Folger’s fight came to a premature end after a technical issue forced the rapid German, who is celebrating his 24th birthday today, to pull into the pits and retire on the third lap. Ahead of the race, Folger determinedly eyed up a top six finish and he began from 13th on the grid. The young gun undertook a rocket start and fought through the first laps before his unfortunate retirement.


Johann Zarco
Position: 5th - Championship: 6th - Points: 99


 

Johann Zarco - 2017“It was a good Sunday and I’m very happy with what we achieved. This morning, the warm up was difficult for me and I was a bit worried about how things would be in the race. Yet, this afternoon, the temperature was high and it was the warmest that it has been throughout the weekend and so the soft compound was the best tyre option. However, it had a great feeling but we were still a bit unsure about what would happen in the GP. Anyway, I am pleased about the start and I was able to fight in the first lap. Then I felt really strong after the fifth lap but it was too tricky to overtake. When I claimed 5th position, the tyres dropped a bit so I tried to manage it. I wanted to catch Lorenzo in 4th however, it was not possible today, and at the same time, I wanted to keep hold of 5th because Viñales was behind me and he was pushing. In the end, it was a perfect finish and I am so happy to be back in the top five. This result is great for the championship as well as my confidence and battling with the leading guys is very exciting.”


Jonas Folger
Position: DNF - Championship: 8th - Points: 77


 

Jonas Folger - 2017"I have to admit that it was a really hard weekend for us and there were many ups and downs. We tried a new chassis but we were unsure if it was better or not at this circuit, and I think in the end I was not getting confident with the track. However, I felt good in the warm up, even if my position was quite low because I was using old tyres. Plus, my qualifying performance was not so bad if we look at the lap time. Therefore, I was feeling confident for the race, but then we experienced a technical issue and I had to retire. This is a shame because I think that we could have done a great job and taken some valuable championship points. Now, we have to analyse what happened so that it won’t occur again.”


Hervé PONCHARAL
Team manager


 

“It was an incredible battle at the front of the field and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team is proud to have been part of that fight until half way through the race. Johann did an incredible job and got past both Yamaha riders, even though it was tough, and he also broke the race lap record. Maverick and Valentino were both using the hard compound tyres and our rider was running with the soft so I thought that the second part of the GP could have been challenging, but Johann did incredibly well to preserve his tyres and keep both of them behind him. He was the best independent rider by far and also the leading rookie by even more of a distance. We are pleased with a top five finish and he completed the weekend as the first Yamaha which means that we have gained 11 points for the constructors' championship which will help Yamaha. I am proud of what Johann did today because it was tough and the pressure from Maverick and Valentino was so intense. As for Jonas, I feel very sorry for him. After the big disappointment in the Czech Republic, the weekend was a bit more difficult for him here but he had a great start and I think he would have been inside the top 8. Unfortunately, he encountered a brake issue, which was really strange. We are working with Brembo at the moment to work out what happened because this has never occurred before. Today is Jonas’ birthday and we were hoping that he could have scored a good result to celebrate his day, but sadly, this didn’t happen which is a big shame. We know that he is on form and I want to wish him a happy birthday and I hope he’s going to forget this disappointment quickly. Silverstone is coming so let's hope that our two guys will be fighting for top positions there. Thanks to the whole team because it was a tough way to restart the championship after the summer break but now we have a few days to relax so that we can come back stronger.”

Johann Zarco produced a superbly calculated ride to qualify on the second row of the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix. The French star began the day with instant speed after powering to 2nd in FP3 and he then continued the flow by completing free practice 4 in 4th. When the Q2 shootout began, Zarco tactfully delayed his start and opted to undertake one run and not pit. He built up his pace before firing over the finish line to end up only 0.258 back from the front row.

Meanwhile, Jonas Folger will begin his quest to seal a strong result in the Austrian hills from the head of the fifth row of the grid. The rapid German rider completed the practice sessions in 13th overall which confirmed his participation in Qualifying 1. Here, he determinedly pushed until the chequered flag appeared and his best lap saw him finish 3rd in the session and only 0.166 adrift of the Q2 zone. Both riders will seek to impress in the 11th round of the championship which will commence tomorrow at 14:00.


Johann Zarco
Position: 6th - Time: 1'23.879 - Laps: 8


 

Johann Zarco - 2017“We have undertaken some good work and the feeling is positive at this track, plus I am happy about qualifying on the second row. However, I have to admit that I was not quite relaxed enough and I feel that it would have been possible to produce a better time. Perhaps I couldn’t have equalled Marquez’s lap but I think that I would have been able to fight with Lorenzo for 3rd, yet, I needed to be calmer to do this. That is the only shame about the qualifying, but my race pace this morning was fast and I was consistent. In FP4 we tried a different compound of tyres and it became a bit trickier, so it looks like we know where we are with this. Tomorrow, I aim to have good start and fight as soon as the lights go out because when you get into a solid position at the beginning, then you can run a better pace and have a more positive time. So the top five is my target in order to score a lot of points for the championship, but if everything goes well and I feel comfortable, I will take the chance to fight for another podium.”


Jonas Folger
Position: 13th - Time: 1'24.015 - Laps: 9


 

Jonas Folger - 2017"I know that our potential was much higher than the result that we achieved today so I’m a bit disappointed. So far, we have struggled throughout the weekend and we are still slightly unsure about which direction to head towards. However, in Q1, we did an ok job and with the lap time that I set, I would have qualified in 9th in Qualifying 2 and that would have been quite positive. Anyway, the timing was not perfect and we had to analyse a lot of things which caused us to lose time. In the end, P13 is a tricky place to start from, but if I have a strong performance, which I fully intend to, then I can collect some valuable points for the championship.”

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Johann Zarco fired a warning shot to his rivals by finishing the opening day of action in Austria in 4th and as the top independent rider. After building his pace in the morning, the French star ran a series of highly impressive times at the end of FP2, with his fastest lap leaving him only 0.048 back from 3rd as he confidently looks on to tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Jonas Folger endured a challenging first day at the undulating Spielberg circuit as he worked relentlessly with his team, yet he still powered through and finished only 0.470 behind his teammate. The young German aims to make strides forward tomorrow with his sights fully set on clinching a strong grid position for the headline event on Sunday. He will return to the track along with the rest of the MotoGP field at 09:55 for FP3.


Johann Zarco
Position: 4th - Time: 1'24.522 - Laps: 40


 

Johann Zarco - 2017“I am pretty happy with how the first day went. We were waiting for wet conditions, but in the end, both sessions were dry and I was competitive. When we use the soft tyre because it’s the safer option, I always end up inside the top ten and today, I was only just outside of the leading three. Therefore, it was a very good first day because I like this track and everything is going well with the Yamaha. I feel comfortable on the brakes so the Tech3 team and I are worked hard on the acceleration, which is strong and we can be satisfied when we compare ourselves to the other riders. I think that we can still make some steps forward to improve because the references and lap times from last year are really fast and I’m sure that the top riders will be on this pace again.”


Jonas Folger
Position: 16th - Time: 1'24.992 - Laps: 37


 

Jonas Folger - 2017"It was a tricky day for us but I’m certain that we can bounce back tomorrow. When we started, we headed towards a direction that worked well in the Czech Republic, yet, it turns out that it is not as effective here. The main issue at the moment is the braking, and I am experiencing some locking and instability. However, I am more than confident that we will be able to amend this so that I can lower my lap time and then get a really solid qualifying position for the race on Sunday. Anyway, I can’t wait to get back on the track tomorrow and continue the hard work.”

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