This weekend’s PTT Thailand Grand Prix initiates a very crucial and demanding part of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, being a new addition in the calendar, plus the first of four races in Asia and Australia. Following a positive test in February, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco can’t wait to be back at the Chang International Circuit, hoping to turn his fortunes around and being able to fight for the glory of the best independent rider.

Nearly eight months ago, Hafizh Syahrin experienced his MotoGP debut at the new venue, where after Monster Yamaha Tech3 with all partners decided to give the Malaysian rider a chance for the full season. The talented rookie didn’t disappoint and aims to return to the place close to his home country and impress his fans in claiming back as many points as possible on Franco Morbidelli, who actually leads the Rookie of the Year classification.


Johann Zarco
Championship: 8th - Points: 112


Zarco 2018"The Chang International Circuit is a nice track, which I could see already in February when we had three days of testing there. The last memory from this place is pretty positive, so it can be the time now to come back to a good feeling and a decent position to fight with the fastest guys again. I would love to be competitive on that track. I was feeling good there and also the others didn’t have an additional test there, so they maybe have a smaller advantage than during the last races. I’m happy to go there. We start a long trip with almost four races in a row, therefore it will be important to manage my body and my mood well, but I’m sure that these two things are going well. I think the public will be so awesome supporting all the riders. I can’t wait to get to Buriram."


Hafizh Syahrin 
Championship: 18th - Points: 24


Syahrin - 2018"I have great memories regarding Thailand, because in the beginning of the year I got to know that I’ll be testing a MotoGP bike at the Chang International Circuit, where I finally rode the M1 for the very first time. I had a good test and was just less than two seconds from the top. Now I hope this track can give me an extra boost for this weekend, as I really look forward to arrive in Buriram and also because it’s the beginning of the Asian rounds before the season finale in Valencia. The last two, three races I was struggling. We know that we face a tough situation together with Yamaha, so I hope they can fix something to give us the chance to fight for some better results again. I wish I can do well and I try to come back to the points scoring positions. I still believe in myself, the team is working incredibly hard, so we keep on doing this and never give up."


Hervé PONCHARAL

Team Manager


“Finally, we are all ready to fly to Buriram for the Thai Grand Prix. It’s an event everybody was waiting for. I think the winter test went really, really well. There were a lot of people for a test and I can imagine that the organization expects a record crowd, so everybody is flying there with a very positive frame of mind, because clearly it’s going to be an exciting round, but also a bit like unknown territory. For Monster Yamaha Tech3 the test was very positive, Johann was flying there and was the fastest guy when he stopped. Dani Pedrosa passed him for a few thousands when we were already on the road back to Bangkok. The feeling was great, which was unfortunately back in February. Since then a lot of things changed, many bikes improved, so we don’t really know what to expect in terms of competitiveness in comparison to our competitors, but clearly the feeling we had there with both, Johann and Hafizh, who was on the MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 for the very first time in his life. Clearly, we are excited, happy and we know how important MotoGP is for Thai supporters. They are hot and the atmosphere is going to be something unbelievable. I think we won’t forget the very first Thai Grand Prix, which will for sure be something very special. The circuit is ok, some riders think it’s a bit boring, but our guys liked it very much. It’s safe, the paddock is big enough to receive everybody in a professional way, so we just can’t wait to be there and to enjoy with our supporters. Indeed, it is a very strong market for the motorcycle manufacturers, including Yamaha, so we will have a lot of marketing and media operations to do there, but this is fun and exciting to go to a new venue like that where we know there’s a lot of expectations, so hopefully Johann and Hafizh will fly the Monster Yamaha Tech3 flag very high and we can have something to celebrate Sunday afternoon.”

Today’s 14th round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship season turns out a hard challenge for Monster Yamaha Tech3 ’s Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin, who both grit their teeth during the 23 laps race in order to limit the affects as good as possible.

French star Zarco came off the line very well making up three positions on the first lap but was fighting very hard after the first third of the race to at least bring home two points. With five rounds to go, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider lies seven points behind his contenders in the fight for the best independent rider of the Championship. Meanwhile Syahrin showed an equally strong performance in the beginning of the race before struggling to keep his pace and eventually ending up in P18. The MotoGP newcomer aims to make up seven points now in order to equal Franco Morbidelli in the Rookies of the Year competition.


Johann Zarco
Position: 14
th - Championship: 8th - Points: 112


Zarco 2018"It was a very tough race. I had a good start and I was able to fight a bit with Petrucci at the beginning, but quite soon this first group in front of me went away. It was impossible to follow them and then the more laps I was doing, the worse the feeling got. We were slighting too much, we were fighting too much and we had no solution. I tried many things with my riding, but I didn’t find anything that helped. It’s very hard to finish a race like that because I’m exhausted and I was very slow. So, I hope we will have better weekends on different tracks, also circuits, where the other riders didn’t test. I hope this can be a chance for me to do some good results in order to finish the season well."


Hafizh Syahrin 
Position: 18th - Championship: 18th - Points: 24


Syahrin - 2018"We made a good start, I was P13 in the beginning, just behind Rossi. I was fully motivated to stay with him, Morbidelli, Nakagami and Johann. I don’t know why, but suddenly after eight laps I lost the rear contact on the ground, didn’t have any grip anymore, I couldn’t turn the bike and it was really hard to ride the bike like this. In the beginning of the race it was good, I believed we could score points in front of the other rookies, but in the end, I couldn’t keep the pace. I was struggling a lot to stop the bike and to turn. Now, I try to continue with this motivation like in the beginning of the race. I don’t know what to do, I just try to keep focused and try to take something away to improve myself and work hard with the team. I really hope Yamaha can find something to improve the bike."


Hervé PONCHARAL

Team Manager


“We arrived in Aragón full of optimism and confidence. We weren’t thinking to be on the podium but we thought we could be fighting for a top 10 result, which right now the level we have. Unfortunately, we leave Aragón with more than a bitter feeling, it’s a big shame. I think it’s the worst result of Johann when he finished a race, except maybe last year’s Misano round when he run out of fuel in the last lap. That shows how far we are. Basically, our two guys had a good start, had a good rhythm for the first few laps and then they dropped, more dramatically for Hafizh then for Johann, but they both went down the order. Honestly, it was hard to follow the race. We are competitors, we are fighters and to see such a race is something that makes you wonder and that makes you feel truly sad. I think right now Johann said he’s exhausted like he has been fighting for the victory and he ended up 14thand I think the whole team is feeling the same. It’s a really tough moment. I can’t remember and I can’t believe if we’ve been that we’ve been fighting from pole position for podiums in the same season and now we’re fighting for points. This is unbelievable. I don’t think the tyre situation had anything to do with it because the race winner was on a soft rear, Iannone was on medium-soft, like we were, so on that department I think we were ok. But there are things to understand. I was also very excited to see Johann passing Petrucci and fighting in a group, where I thought he would stay long. I was excited to see Hafizh having a great start and being together with Valentino and in front of his fellow rookies, but unfortunately that didn’t last long and we just lost ground. It’s more than a pity, something we have to understand, because I don’t think Johann and Hafizh deserve that result. I’m very sorry for our partners and for the people who follow us and are behind us. Clearly, we are in a crisis situation at the moment. I don’t think we have the tools to recover soon. We can just hope that the next circuits will be more favorable. Johann and Hafizh had a great test in Thailand this winter, but this winter is already a long time ago, so I don’t know. We have to regroup, we have to keep pushing, but now we have to pack for the four flyaways and the feeling is everything is going to be very heavy to pack. I’m unhappy, I’m sad, I’m angry, because we are not here to do that and I don’t think the level of the team is what we see. But clearly, race after race it’s almost the same comment, it’s almost the same result. We saw Johann in the past being very aggressive and doing some unbelievable passes in the race, but we’ve just lost that. We haven’t seen that for many, many races. He just seems to suffer, to struggle. We just seem to be outside of where we should be. It’s a big shame.

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco delivered a strong performance during Qualifying for the Aragón Grand Prix this weekend. The French star got the best out of himself and his Yamaha YZR-M1 today and missed out on Q2 by just 0.106 seconds, following a huge improvement after a tough opening day at the Spanish circuit. He will attack the 14th round of the season from the fifth row of the grid.

Hafizh Syahrin showed an equally resolute uphill Saturday. The MotoGP rookie from Malaysia lowered his FP1 time from Friday by incredible 1.719 seconds and finished Qualifying one in ninth position. Therefore, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider has to tackle the Aragón round at 14.00 local time tomorrow from the seventh row, after he concluded Saturday directly behind Yamaha colleague Valentino Rossi.


Johann Zarco 
Position: 14th -  Time: 1'48.052 - Laps: 7


Zarco 2018"It’s not easy to say if I’m happy or unhappy. Obviously, the position is not what we want, but we couldn’t do better. We are improving ourselves, I tried to get better every time, however we feel that we could not do more. Since Misano we have a quite difficult time and I could almost be in Q2, but I missed it for just a tenth of a second. Let’s wait and see tomorrow. We start from far, although I still hope we can fight from the beginning and make up positions and then we will see if the others might struggle with the grip. Maybe I have a chance to do a top 10."


Hafizh Syahrin 
Position: 19th -  Time: 1'48.975 - Laps: 6


Syahrin - 2018"I felt really good with the work that we’ve done with the team, because yesterday we were struggling a lot to find a bike to turn, when we used a lot of banking. This morning, I was improving step by step and in FP4 I was doing very well. In the first run of the Qualifying I felt really good with the bike after we changed something, but in the second run I was thinking too much to find a good reference and, in the end, I made a mistake with less than five minutes to finish. I had the feeling we could improve, so I’m very sorry for my guys. We try to have a good race pace tomorrow morning in the Warm Up in order to have a decent race."

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