Tag Archives: Johann Zarco

Zarco tops opening day of practice in Portugal | Times | Quotes | Images

2020 MotoGP Round 15 – Portimao

By: Trevor Hedge

Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) is now the owner of the fastest ever two-wheel lap of the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, the Frenchman putting in a 1m39.417s to top Day 1 of the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal.

Second went the way of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as he ended the day just over a tenth off, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) impressing to put the Noale factory in third by the end of play.

Almost the entire MotoGP field are already under the WorldSBK lap record at this incredibly challenging circuit. The qualifying record for WorldSBK is 1m40.372s, while the race lap record is almost a second slower at 1m41.272s, both records were set in 2019 by Jonathan Rea.

Johann Zarco


The day began with the home hero on top as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) set the pace in the extended 70-minute FP1 session with the fastest-ever Algarve International Circuit two-wheel lap: a 1:40.122. Portugal’s first premier class winner had close company, however, heading Viñales by 0.040. Aleix Espargaro completed the top three as Aprilia got off to a solid start.

Jack Miller

It was Oliveira who led the opening stages, before Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took over at the summit with the Hondas of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sitting P3 and P4 with 50 minutes to go, before Viñales slotted into P3.

Maverick Vinales

The Yamaha man then took over at the top with a 1:41.427 and with a fitting 36 minutes left on the clock, 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) showed some early cards to take second. It was close from the off, eight tenths covering the top 14 with just under half an hour left.

Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was the next man to take over, before Quartararo then became the first rider to dip into the 1:40s with a 1:40.877. Improvements were being fired in across the board late on though, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) leapfrogging Aleix Espargaro for third too.

With two minutes to go, the goalposts were moved by Viñales once again, Oliveira and Aleix Espargaro then taking second and third respectively. Lorenzo Savadori, who has experience in Portimão from his superbike days, then made it two Aprilias in the top three as the Italian went P2.

On his final flying lap though, Oliveira returned to the summit and made it a Portuguese number one in Portuguese FP1. Viñales ended the morning in second ahead of Aleix Espargaro and an impressive showing from Savadori, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top five ahead of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Mir, Quartararo, Nakagami and Bradl, the German rider locking out the top 10.


All the times tumbled in the afternoon, although some shuffles were more drastic than others. Before many laps were ridden in anger though, the first MotoGP crash of the weekend came courtesy of Rins. The Team Suzuki Ecstar rider was down at Turn 8, the Spaniard perfectly ok but that not an ideal start to the afternoon.

Aleix Espargaro led the early stages with a 1:40.969, less than a second away from Oliveira’s FP1 pace, before Zarco got down to a 1:40.723 to sit top with just under an hour to go thanks to his best time of the weekend. Bradl, as he had in the opening session, then went fastest. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Iker Lecuona’s replacement Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Tech3) were the other riders to have already gone quicker in FP2 with 50 minutes to go, but the shuffle only continued from there on.

Franco Morbidelli

By 11 minutes to go, just 0.8 seconds split the leading 18 riders. The final push began as Miller launched himself to P1 with a 1:39.895, Nakagami and Mir making moves as well, with the top four covered by less than a tenth as the clock counted down.

Zarco then struck to take to the top. The Frenchman went a tenth and a half faster than the field before Miller improved again to cut that gap, Bradl got back up to P3, and then Viñales wrestled back top spot with a 1:39.664. That didn’t last long though as Zarco took back over by nearly a quarter of a second, the Frenchman stamping some authority on the timesheets.

It was a scintillating end to the session and by the end of the final charge for the top, Zarco held on and everyone had improved. Viñales and Aleix Espargaro were second and third as they had been in FP1, however, with Quartararo moving up to fourth overall.

Brad Binder jumped up from P20 to complete a top five split by 0.280 seconds, ahead of the reigning World Champion as Mir finished P6 on Day 1. He was just 0.009 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) though, with Pol Espargaro, Miller and Morbidelli completing the top 10.

Jack Miller

Bradl missed out by just 0.021 despite his impressive showing, with Nakagami and Oliveira shuffled down to P11 and P12 respectively by the end of play.

They will be joining Rins – who ended Friday in P17 – as some of the most eager to get back out in FP3 to try and move up the order. More track time will likely mean more shuffles though, so there’s plenty time left yet! Tune in for FP3 at 9:55 local time (GMT) to see who’s heading through, before qualifying will then decide the grid from 14:10.

Friday MotoGP Rider Reflections

Johann Zarco – P1

“I am very happy with today. I felt very comfortable on the soft tire and it is a good tire for a fast lap. Tomorrow we will work on how to have more rhythm on this very complicated circuit where the bike moves a lot, but I think we will find the solution to be more comfortable for the race ”

Maverick Vinales – P2

“This is an awesome track! It‘s so good! I‘m enjoying it a lot. Honestly, I didn‘t care about the lap times, I was just trying to enjoy the experience. For sure, the bike is working well, and we are riding well on the track. It was good to try all the tyres today to understand and have a sense of which direction to follow tomorrow, and we‘ll see what happens. Everyone is fast. The first 15 riders are in the 1‘39s, so everything is very tight. We‘re all on the limit. Anti-wheelie will be important, so we will try to make another step there.”

Maverick Vinales
Aleix Espargaro – P3

“In FP1, we clearly took advantage of the data from the test, but with two sessions that long, the other riders came up to speed quickly. This is why I’m very pleased with the overall third place time, because being ahead in FP2 as well means that we really did a good job. In addition to the flying lap, we were also competitive on used tyres, which is a very important aspect because tyre wear in the race will be crucial, especially in the last ten laps. Tomorrow I’ll battle to finish in the top 6. I think it is a result that both the team and I deserve.”

Aleix Espargaro
Fabio Quartararo – P4

“It’s a nice feeling here at Portimão and I’m really happy with the initial data that we have collected today; we can see that the bike has good potential at this circuit. We do still have a lot of things to improve, both on the bike and with myself, but I feel happy with fourth today. It’s a difficult track in some places; in particular there are some really tricky corners but it is also a lot of fun and very unique. When you go for the time attack on the downhill section you get an amazing feeling in your stomach. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because we have some things to try in the morning and we’ll see what we can do in qualifying.”

Fabio Quartararo
Joan Mir – P6

“Considering it’s the first day at the track, I feel pretty good. We’ve worked a lot on the settings and the electronics. It’s quite difficult to adjust the bike to suit a circuit we’ve never been to before; finding the correct settings took a lot of work. But by the end of the day I felt comfortable and I found good pace, so we’re satisfied with this first day. It’s the same for everyone, so it’s important to be quick as soon as possible and learn fast. I feel quite strong in several places on the track, but there’s always a margin for improvement and I hope to put in a good performance tomorrow.”

Joan Mir
Andrea Dovizioso – P7

“It has been a hectic day: Portimão is a particular and narrow track, which does not allow you to make the most of the MotoGP engine. We struggled to find a good setup right from the start. After several laps, my feeling with the bike has finally improved, but there are still some aspects we need to focus on to be ready for Sunday’s race. The goal now will also be to understand how the tyres will behave on this track.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Jack Miller – P9

“Definitely a positive day, I like the track very much and I had a lot of fun, there are some very difficult points like turn one, eight and nine. As a first day I feel very satisfied and have a good feeling with the bike. We hope to do well tomorrow too.”

Jack Miller
Franco Morbidelli – P10

“First impressions are positive of the Portimão track, it’s really nice and the Portuguese weather is also really good at this time of year. I’m happy to be here riding and the feeling today was getting better lap-by-lap. It is quite a difficult track physically, very demanding on the body, but I was able to improve my time and also refine the bike setup in these two sessions. We tried some different tyre combinations and I think we learned quite a few things to help us put everything together tomorrow to be fast. We were able to get into the top-ten, so it’s definitely been a positive day for us.”

Franco Morbidelli
Stefan Bradl – P11

“I got up to speed very quickly and had a good feeling on the bike. We had two strong sessions today while trying to understand the options we have for the weekend. I’m happy with how today went but tomorrow it will be important, I think we can aim to get into Q2. It was a good feeling to see P1 on my pit board, the feeling and speed has improved with each weekend. It’s a very special track, unique and a lot of points to make a difference.”

Stefan Bradl
Takaaki Nakagami – P12

“As you can see, today was a busy day because it’s a new track for me with a MotoGP bike. We tried many things during the FP1 session because we had 70 minutes in the morning and afternoon. We tried different compounds on the tyre and got some good feedback. We struggled a little bit in the exits of the corners as most of the corners here are not flat, they are up and down, so it’s difficult to find the best balance of the bike. Little by little we’re getting a better feeling on the bike and it’s shame we had a small crash in FP2, but I’m ok and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Takaaki Nakagami
Miguel Oliveira – P13

“We had a good first day here in Portimao. I think from the morning to the afternoon, we were able to set up the bike better. There are still a couple of things, we can improve for sure, as this is a new track. From my side, I feel very good on the bike, I’m enjoying every lap on this track. This afternoon we wanted to save one extra soft tyre for tomorrow morning, so I think we could not get the maximum out of our package, but I’m still happy with this opening day.”

Miguel Oliveira
Cal Crutchlow – P14

“It’s nice to be back on the Portimao track. It’s a really difficult track to get right, there are so many different lines and braking points and you have to be clever, as such, to put a good lap together here because there are a lot of corners and sequences of corners. I think we did ok today, I’m disappointed with the final position because I made some mistakes on my lap which were completely my own fault, but after 11 years since I rode here, it’s good to get the memory back of riding a good circuit.”

Pecco Bagnaia – P15

“I had a really great time today. In the afternoon I felt much better and we took a step forward, i was very fast for all the FP2. I have very good feelings about the track and the bike, I like it very much, I am very satisfied with the work we are doing.”

Pecco Bagnaia
Lorenzo Savadori – P16

“A good day. My confidence on the RS-GP is increasing session after session and racing on a track I’m familiar with definitely helps. You can see my lack of miles in this category when I have to push to the limit. Despite some good times, I still don’t have the perfect feeling when I need to squeeze out 100%. The clearest limitations are the same as Valencia. We need to keep working to try to take full advantage of this weekend.”

Lorenzo Savadori
Alex Rins – P17

“This track is very demanding, but it’s really nice to ride. You have to concentrate really hard because the track has so many different elements, with ups and downs and different cambers and corners, there’s no time to breathe! You need to stay focused and manage it all well. After the crash I felt a bit of pain on my ‘bad’ shoulder, but luckily nothing that some treatment won’t fix. I’m looking forward to riding again tomorrow, and I’ll continue to work hard to find the best settings to fight at the front.”

Alex Rins
Alex Marquez – P18

“From the test before we were able to learn the layout of the track but when you come here on a MotoGP bike it’s completely different. All the markers for turning and braking are new, and we spent a lot of FP1 working on finding the correct line because we did not really have any references. It’s a fun circuit with some difficult sections to master, but I enjoyed it today. With four front and four rear tyre options there was a lot of work to do, but I feel good after today even if our position isn’t the best. For tomorrow we need to make a step in the morning.”

Alex Marquez
Danilo Petrucci – P19

“It was a very long and demanding day: we did many tests, but I’m still not satisfied with the feeling I have with the bike on this track. We haven’t yet found the right way to go, but after this first day, we have collected many data to work on in the next sessions. Tomorrow in FP3, we will also focus on trying our time attack”.

Danilo Petrucci
Tito Rabat – P20

“In the morning I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike as the rear wheel was spinning a lot. But in the afternoon, after the great work the team has done, I have been able to do much better so I hope to take another step forward tomorrow, on a new track where I think we can have a good race ”

Valentino Rossi – P21

“The track is fantastic. It‘s different from the other tracks. With MotoGP bikes it‘s difficult because you are going so fast, but it‘s beautiful and a lot of fun to ride. We tried some different things today, but in the end we didn‘t find a real step. With my first bike, which had a closer to normal setting, I was a bit faster. But, unfortunately, I lost the front in Turn 4. I crashed, but I‘m okay. But after that I had to go out with the other bike, and I didn‘t have the same feeling, so I wasn‘t fast enough. We had tried to improve rear grip, but I lost speed on corner entry. What we gained we lost in another part. Tomorrow we will stick to a more standard setting and will try to understand if we can be stronger.”

Valentino Rossi
Mika Kallio – P22

“Before I arrived, I knew that it’s going to be a tough day for many reasons, first of all of course learning a new track. I have never been here and it took some time to understand it, plus it’s one of the most complicated circuits I’ve ever been, although it’s really nice and I like it a lot. But it’s not easy and it takes time. So, the first practice was mostly for this and trying to learn the bike again, understanding the new tyres. My last race was more than one year ago, so we didn’t expect that much from the first day, but somehow, we improved at the end of FP2 and also my feeling was slightly better. We are still far from the fastest guys, but at least we saw, that we are finding the correct way. On some points, I’m losing quite a lot in braking, so I need to find out how I can get out everything from the front tyre, because this is the place we are losing. There are many things to do for tomorrow, so let’s see what happens.”

Team Managers

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“It’s been an interesting day being at a circuit we’ve never competed at before. We’ve been collecting a lot of information and data, and the riders have been familiarising themselves with the track. Joan put in some good lap times and had strong pace. And despite having a small crash, Alex also did a good job of collecting information and getting plenty of laps in. We’ll be working tonight to see what we need to change for tomorrow, and then we’re ready to get back out there and try our best.”

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“This track is completely different from Valencia last week, or any other circuit for that matter. Maverick already really enjoyed this track during the test, and on his M1 his enjoyment increased even more. Valentino on the other hand didn‘t have a good feeling with the bike all day, and matters weren‘t helped by his small crash in Turn 4. There is still quite a lot of work to do. This circuit is technically challenging and we don‘t have any prior experience or data to go on, so we will be analysing today‘s data very carefully to assess in which areas we can make further steps. Since we had some extra track time today, we used some of it to try all the tyre options and also some things we couldn‘t test earlier, already with an eye on next year. This helps us make up for the fact that we don‘t have an end-of-season test like we usually have in Valencia.”

Friday MotoGP Combined Practice Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 J.Zarco DUCATI 1m39.417
2 M.Viñales YAMAHA +0.119
3 A.Espargaro APRILIA +0.228
4 F.Quartararo YAMAHA +0.275
5 B.Binder KTM +0.280
6 J.Mir SUZUKI +0.315
7 A.Dovizioso DUCATI +0.324
8 P.Espargaro KTM +0.366
9 J.Miller DUCATI +0.403
10 F.Morbidelli YAMAHA +0.471
11 S.Bradl HONDA +0.492
12 T.Nakagami HONDA +0.522
13 M.Oliveira KTM +0.529
14 C.Crutchlow HONDA +0.549
15 F.Bagnaia DUCATI +0.560
16 L.Savadori APRILIA +0.668
17 A.Rins SUZUKI +0.796
18 A.Marquez HONDA +0.921
19 D.Petrucci DUCATI +1.130
20 T.Rabat DUCATI +1.839
21 V.Rossi YAMAHA +1.862
22 M.Kallio KTM +2.409


Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) shot first in the final Moto2 battle of the season as the Italian topped the timesheets on Day 1 of the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal – but the man right on his tail was another title challenger. Still riding through the pain barrier following his huge FP3 crash at Valencia, Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) nevertheless took second on Friday, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) completing the top three.

Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46)

Championship leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) was fifth quickest behind fourth placed Remy Gardner.

Fourth in the standings, Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) was ninth on day one.

Friday Moto2 Combined Practice Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 L.Marini KALEX 1m42.941
2 S.Lowes KALEX +0.182
3 L.Baldassarri KALEX +0.198
4 R.Gardner KALEX +0.281
5 E.Bastianini KALEX +0.316
6 X.Vierge KALEX +0.373
7 J.Navarro SPEED UP +0.417
8 F.Di Giannanto SPEED UP +0.440
9 M.Bezzecchi KALEX +0.461
10 H.Garzo KALEX +0.473
11 A.Fernandez KALEX +0.481
12 N.Bulega KALEX +0.547
13 S.Manzi MV AGUSTA +0.575
14 M.Ramirez KALEX +0.618
15 T.Luthi KALEX +0.656
16 T.Nagashima KALEX +0.657
17 B.Bendsneyde NTS +0.693
18 D.Aegerter NTS +0.721
19 A.Canet SPEED UP +0.807
20 J.Roberts KALEX +0.815
21 S.Chantra KALEX +1.081
22 E.Pons KALEX +1.352
23 J.Martin KALEX +1.378
24 M.Schrotter KALEX +1.550
25 L.Dalla Porta KALEX +1.804
26 H.Syahrin SPEED UP +1.918
27 K.Daniel KALEX +2.039
28 A.Izdihar KALEX +2.289
29 S.Corsi MV AGUSTA +2.448


Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) began the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal in the best possible position: on top. The Spaniard made a late lunge to end the day with two tenths in hand over newly-crowned Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) completing the top three. Arenas’ title rivals were in eighth and ninth in reverse order to the standings as Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) edged ahead of Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia).

Friday Moto3 Combined Practice Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 A.Arenas KTM 1m47.987
2 J.Alcoba HONDA +0.201
3 T.Suzuki HONDA +0.374
4 R.Fernandez KTM +0.385
5 J.Masia HONDA +0.519
6 D.Foggia HONDA +0.575
7 D.Öncü KTM +0.578
8 T.Arbolino HONDA +0.580
9 A.Ogura HONDA +0.614
10 S.Nepa KTM +0.677
11 R.Fenati HUSQVARNA +0.710
12 J.Mcphee HONDA +0.824
13 J.Dupasquier KTM +0.880
14 S.Garcia HONDA +0.900
15 D.Pizzoli KTM +0.935
16 A.Lopez HUSQVARNA +1.011
17 A.Sasaki KTM +1.022
18 N.Antonelli HONDA +1.053
19 K.Toba KTM +1.080
20 C.Tatay KTM +1.158
21 B.Baltus KTM +1.180
22 G.Rodrigo HONDA +1.184

MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Joan MIR Suzuki 171
2 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 142
3 Alex RINS Suzuki 138
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 127
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 125
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 125
8 Jack MILLER Ducati 112
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 105
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 100
11 Brad BINDER KTM 87
12 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 78
13 Johann ZARCO Ducati 71
14 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 67
15 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 62
16 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 47
17 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 34
18 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 29
19 Iker LECUONA KTM 27
20 Stefan BRADL Honda 18
21 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 12
22 Tito RABAT Ducati 10
23 Michele PIRRO Ducati 4

MotoGP Constructors Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 SUZUKI 201
2 DUCATI 201
3 YAMAHA 188
4 KTM 175
5 HONDA 133

MotoGP Team Championship

Pos Team Points

Source: MCNews.com.au

Zarco to Reale Avintia Ducati now officially, official!

Reale Avintia and Zarco officially confirm plans

After weeks of speculaion, innuendo and rumours, overnight the Reale Avintia Racing Team announced that Johann Zarco will join Tito Rabat in their team for MotoGP season 2020 and that Ducati is raising their official support level for the team.

The Ducati satellite team will be joined by two track engineers and two Ducati Corse electronic technicians that will follow the activity of the two riders of the Demosedici GP19 throughout the coming season.

Zarco, two-time Moto2 World Champion, has signed a one-year agreement directly with Ducati and will be on track for the next season for the first time in the winter tests scheduled at Sepang from 7 to 9 February.

MotoGP Round Valencia Day Zarco
Johann Zarco

After riding for Tech3 Yamaha in 2018, Red Bull KTM for the first half of 2019 before closing out the season with LCR Honda, we will see the Frenchman on his fourth different brand of machinery in the space of 15 months.

MotoGP Valencia Zarco GP AN
Valencia MotoGP – November 2018 – Image by AJRN

Raúl Romero – Reale Avintia Racing Team Owner

“I am really happy and excited with the arrival of a great rider like Johann Zarco to our team from the hand of Ducati. This further strengthens the growth of the team after extending the contract with the Manufacter of Borgo Panigale, making a leap of quality in terms of material by becoming a satellite team. All this package will allow to reflect in the circuits the effort of the structure in the last years. We hope to see Johann and Tito assiduously in the top ten and become a reference team soon. Finally, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their efforts in recent years, without them this would not have been possible.”

Johann Zarco

“I am very pleased to officially announce my signature with Ducati for 2020 season in MotoGP category racing in the Reale Avintia Racing Team. My left ankle is recovering well, I can enjoy now my winter time having rest with family and training again very soon!”

MotoGP Rnd Mugello Fri Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – Mugello 2019

Source: MCNews.com.au

2019 Red Bull KTM MotoGP | Ready To Race

2019 KTM MotoGP machines unveiled

MotoGP KTM Launch Johann Zarco
2019 KTM RC16 MotoGP

2019 has started brightly for KTM with success at the Dakar at the slightly mangled hands of our own Toby Price, in the Supercross arena with Cooper Webb taking four wins already this season, and victory also on the French beach sand thanks to Briton Nathan Watson. Now it is the turn of the tarmac team to try and emulate some of the off-road glory that KTM are synonymous for.

MotoGP KTM Launch Johann Zarco
2019 Red Bull KTM Team

Stefan Pierer – CEO KTM Group

“Racing is the core content of our DNA. That means forced innovation every week or every two weeks. We see on the TV or the internet how many tenths of a second are missing and that really drives us to do everything what we can in the end to touch the top of the podium. That’s our philosophy and that has driven us to success over the last thirty years but in this racing world we are still beginners: this is our third year. This is a five year programme and by the end we want to see podiums and for the upcoming racing season I’d like to see single digit results; that’s realistic because we are still collecting data and we miss all the experience of our competitors. For 2019 – in gambler’s speak – it’s ‘all in’.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Stefan Pierer
Stefan Pierer – CEO KTM Group

Two impressive fledgling seasons in MotoGP have seen the Austrian manufacturer grasp their first points, first top ten finishes and end the second term with their maiden podium trophy in Valencia.

MotoGP Valencia Michelin Podium Dovizioso Rins Espargaro
2018 MotoGP Race Results Valencia
1 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI 24’03.408
2 – Alex Rins (SPA) SUZUKI +2.750
3 – Pol Espargaro (SPA) KTM +7.406

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“2019 is our third season in MotoGP and it is already a milestone thanks to the presence of Tech3 and a new rider in our factory team. It will be very challenging but we hope we can continue the road to the top. We’ll have some bumps on the road but we have worked well in the winter and should be able to look forward to some positive moments this season. I really hope the partnership with Tech3 will give us essential information to improve our MotoGP bike and the total KTM package in order to make the next step in positions and race results.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Hafizh Syahrin
2019 Red Bull KTM Team – Hafizh Syahrin’s ride

The MotoGP effort has now doubled with the experienced Red Bull KTM Tech3 unit placing another two RC16s on the grid under the Tech3 umbrella.

MotoGP KTM Launch Johann Zarco
2019 KTM RC16 MotoGP

Pit Beirer – KTM Motorsport Director

“For us this is another very special moment in our racing story and it’s a milestone for us to have that structure in place. Our road race project has been building consistently since 2012 in terms of structure, confidence and people. I would say we have an amazing ‘path’ in place where you can go from a Rookies bike through all the categories to a MotoGP bike. In the premier class two motorcycles is not enough to be able to develop technology up until the highest level so having a second team in the MotoGP gives us an amazing feeling that our system is in place. We will work with this programme and that doesn’t only mean young riders and trying to get them through but also the bikes for each category with a strong in-house line-up and effort. That’s why today is very special.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Pit Beirer Pol Espargaro Hofmann
2019 KTM MotoGP Team Launch – Pit Beirer and Pol Espargaro

Pol Espargaro (28 in June) will begin his third season with the factory RC16 and his sixth in the premier class.

MotoGP KTM Launch Miguel Oliveira Brembo
2019 KTM RC16 MotoGP

Pol Espargaro

“We have a big target in front of us this year and I think we are in a good place. Johann has integrated into the team well and already looks fast. It means that we are set for the season. I thought Miguel was very fast at the test and that was surprising for a rookie and I know Hafizh is working really hard. All the info the Tech3 guys can bring will be helpful for me, the team and all the engineers. I know, from my experience, that Tech3 are good for helping and teaching the riders, and also improving the bike. 2019 will be about improvement: nobody is perfect and I learn something every year. I think with Johann as a teammate hopefully I can learn from him and apply it to myself to be a better rider and a better worker. I just want to give the best of myself in 2019 and the most I can to the team.”

He is joined for the first time by fellow former Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco (29 in July) – the most successful Frenchman in Grand Prix history.

MotoGP KTM Launch Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – Red Bull KTM Race Team

Johann Zarco

“I’m happy to be here, and this is my first factory team presentation! I discovered Mattighofen and the KTM factory for the first time in January and I was very impressed. After a few tests now I am very happy: I feel that the people in the team trust me and it’s nice to feel that confidence. We’ve done some good work so the motivation is high. Even when we make big improvements at a test we still see that we have a lot to do and have steps to make. It helps to move forward. I believe in what we can do. I would say I am a fast rider so I can give good information and I am very proud to be part of this story in KTM.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – Red Bull KTM Race Team

Red Bull KTM Tech3 field the promise of Hafizh Syahrin (25 in May and the first Malaysian to compete in the premier class and now set for his second MotoGP year) and Miguel Oliveira. Oliveira is another ‘first’ for his country – Portugal – in MotoGP and the recently-turned 24 year old rookie is the first rider to have come up the Moto3 and Moto2 KTM ladder. MotoGP is backed up by the rapid test team duo of Mika Kallio and Dani Pedrosa.

MotoGP KTM Launch Miguel Oliveira
2019 KTM RC16 MotoGP

Miguel Oliveira

“I’m very happy with the new colours, the bike is amazing. The look of everything is just incredible, quite different from what we are used to. It’s such a nice project, that KTM and Red Bull got together; to have two factory teams on the grid is something pretty unique and it shows clearly that KTM wants to try and dominate this class and road racing in general. I’m just really proud and I feel privileged to be a part of this project.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Hafizh Syahrin

“I’m really excited about the new livery. I think it’s truly different than everything else on the track. I can’t wait to be on track with this bike in Qatar. It looks amazing and I guess even more so under the floodlights in the desert. I’m very delighted about this look and can’t wait to get the season started!”

MotoGP KTM Launch Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin – 2019 Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team

Herve Poncharal, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“It’s been great to show the world our new livery. I saw the colours for the first time at the end of December I couldn’t believe it: this is such a cool bike. For sure, the most important for a racing bike is to be fast and we are working on that. The test we had in Sepang a few days ago was very interesting. But if the bike can be fast and good-looking, it’s a big bonus. Therefore, we are more than proud to have shown what our livery will finally be and I can’t wait to see it under the floodlights in Qatar because it will look even more amazing. Hopefully, we can see these bikes with this livery in strong positions.”

MotoGP KTM Launch Hafizh Syahrin
2019 KTM RC16 MotoGP

The MotoGP line-up will travel to Qatar for the last three-day dial-in test later this week before the 2019 MotoGP season gets underway in Qatar and just two weeks before the 19-round season begins at Losai on the weekend of March 10.

MotoGP KTM Launch Hafizh Syahrin
2019 Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team

Source: MCNews.com.au

KTM’s new MotoGP riders try to adapt to RC16 at Valencia

2019 MotoGP Testing with KTM

After the poor weather across the nineteenth and final round of 2018 MotoGP in Spain, Red Bull KTM were able to count on sunnier and brighter conditions for their first work towards the 2019 FIM World Championship with a host of new riders, including two that have made the jump across from Tech3 Yamaha machinery to the KTM RC16. 

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director

“Today was the start of a new phase for us in MotoGP and it was impressive and emotional to see four KTMs pulling out of the pitlane these days. We had a great end to 2018 and the work did not stop on Monday to get everything and everyone ready for Tuesday and today. It was another special moment to see the Tech 3 guys warming up those RC16s and making their first steps with us. It was a big effort to put it all together for these two days so thanks to everyone involved. On the track we went about our work. Pol carried over his confidence from Sunday while Johann came into the team and started to learn the bike and the guys around him. The same could be said for Tech 3. We’ll keep pushing now until next week and then come out strong when we can run on the track again next year.”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“It was quite an interesting test. We brought Johann into the team and we’d been looking forward to that for quite some time. The target of the test with him was to get him familiar with our bike and how it works and reacts. He tried many different things with the settings. He also has a new Crew Chief and some other team members so it was a good start. He crashed today but luckily nothing big and it showed him some limits and understanding. We’ll make some analysis this week and hope to make another step in Jerez. Pol gave some good feedback about the new parts we had for him and we have some exciting potential for a new direction. The job these days was firmly towards 2019 and overall we’re happy.”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Pol Espargaro, still elated after his run to a brilliant third position in the Valencia rain, notched 35 laps on Tuesday (before more untimely showers cut the afternoon short) and 47 on a dry Wednesday to focus mainly on electronics and other key points of the ’19 KTM RC16. The Spaniard showed top ten pace when pushing for a quick lap.

Pol Espargaro

“It has been a positive test: you can always take the positive parts of whatever you do. We tried many, many things, especially electronics. We had a nice test, even if we had a problem going for a really fast lap in the end. The team is happy. We still have much to do but we have Jerez in a few days. Last year we were quite good there with a test after the race. I have good memories. The bike has changed much since then and we still have some changes to make. It is good to have more fast riders on the bike like Johann, the test riders and the young guys at Tech 3. They just need time and experience.”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Across the garage Johann Zarco made his eagerly awaited Red Bull KTM debut and spent both days feeling his way around the motorcycle and altering the characteristics to suit his style. The former double Moto2 World Champion and 2017 Rookie of the Year clocked 86 laps in total. He suffered two small crashes on Wednesday but otherwise profited from his initial taste of the Austrian machinery.

MotoGP Valencia KTM Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco

“I wanted to improve my lap-time more today but we could not do it. I can really feel the potential of the bike but we still need to get the speed. It was a shame to have two crashes but I didn’t have any injuries and it helped to understand things about the bike and what I might have to change with my riding style. Step-by step. I’m building up this adventure. We are working on corner entry feeling and to find a direction but we improved and I felt I could play with the bike. I’m already thinking about what changes I need to make. Anyway, it was pretty nice to get on that bike and something so different that I’ve discovered in MotoGP until now. Even all the colours, the suit: it was exciting!”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco

Another significant sight in Valencia was the all-black KTM Team Tech 3 KTM’s of Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira. The Malaysian is beginning his first full MotoGP pre-season while the Portuguese is one of four rookies in the premier class for 2019. Both were also busy with their acclimatisation.

MotoGP Valencia KTM Hazifh Syharin
Hafizh Syahrin

Hafizh Syahrin

“Overall, we had a decent test. I didn’t look at the lap time these two days, but tried to feel good on the bike, to get used to it and to understand the electronics. On the first day, we didn’t touch anything on the bike but this afternoon we changed some things on the front and the rear, which was positive. Later today, it was quite cold and we used the medium tyre. I had a small crash in turn 10, but I was in a good shape and had a good rhythm to understand the bike. We try to continue working hard. I hope we have some great weather in Jerez and aim to improve with every session.”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Hazifh Syharin
Hafizh Syahrin

Miguel Oliveira

“We did much more laps than yesterday and just continued to work on the bike. Toady we started to touch some areas after we had the same bike throughout the day on Tuesday. Now we were able to make some changes. Because everything is new, it took the team a bit of time to make these changes and also to adapt my comments from what I wish to have from the bike, so it’s a learning curve for everyone in this particular situation. So far, it has been positive.”

MotoGP Valencia KTM Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

MotoGP will now move further south and to Jerez to continue testing on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th November and the last track days before the winter period.

2019 MotoGP Test Day Two Times

  1. VIÑALES, Maverick Yamaha Factory Racing 1:30.757 50 / 57
  2. DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 1:30.890 0.133 0.133 39 / 57
  3. MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:30.911 0.154 0.021 39 / 53
  4. MILLER, Jack Alma Pramac Racing 1:30.939 0.182 0.028 63 / 66
  5. PETRUCCI, Danilo Ducati Team 1:30.959 0.202 0.020 57 / 60
  6. MORBIDELLI, Franco Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:30.974 0.217 0.015 44 / 58
  7. RINS, Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:31.254 0.497 0.280 65 / 69
  8. NAKAGAMI, Takaaki LCR Honda Idemitsu 1:31.304 0.547 0.050 68 / 70
  9. ROSSI, Valentino Yamaha Factory 1:31.371 0.614 0.067 38 / 63
  10. ESPARGARO, Aleix Aprilia Racing Gresini 1:31.400 0.643 0.029 37 / 55
  11. BAGNAIA, Francesco Alma Pramac Racing 1:31.405 0.648 0.005 44 / 49
  12. LORENZO, Jorge Repsol Honda Team 1:31.584 0.827 0.179 40 / 46
  13. ESPARGARO, Pol Red Bull KTM Factory 1:31.628 0.871 0.044 45 / 47
  14. MIR, Joan Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:31.714 0.957 0.086 42 / 56
  15. RABAT, Tito Reale Avintia Racing 1:31.940 1.183 0.226 49 / 59
  16. QUARTARARO, Fabio Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:32.091 1.334 0.151 61 / 63
  17.  IANNONE, Andrea Aprilia Racing Gresini 1:32.124 1.367 0.033 31 / 32
  18. FOLGER, Jonas Yamaha Test Team 1:32.265 1.508 0.141 29 / 47
  19. PIRRO, Michele Ducati Team 1:32.376 1.619 0.111 10 / 14
  20. ZARCO, Johann Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:32.509 1.752 0.133 38 / 50
  21. ABRAHAM, Karel Reale Avintia Racing 1:32.906 2.149 0.397 35 / 52
  22. SYAHRIN, Hafizh KTM Tech 3 Racing 1:33.008 2.251 0.102 31 / 43
  23. SMITH, Bradley Aprilia Racing Test Team 1:33.028 2.271 0.020 49 / 58
  24. OLIVEIRA, Miguel KTM Tech 3 Racing 1:33.798 3.041 0.770 45 / 46

Source: MCNews.com.au

Riders & Team Managers reflect on Australian GP

Australian MotoGP 2018

Yamaha resurgent as Vinales from Iannone, Dovi wins

Riders and Team managers talk the Phillip Island GP

Maverick Vinales – P1

“This is the best feeling ever, honestly! We‘ve been in the dark all year, and suddenly we came into the light! I couldn‘t show my potential in the previous races, but today I could. Being first in Australia is always amazing! It‘s the best track ever, and I like to be at the front there. To win here and break this long none winning period of Yamaha is unbelievable! I was riding on the bike like I was in FP4. I got a really good feeling from the bike, so I knew I could maintain 1‘29s. That‘s what I did for most of the middle of the race. I tried to escape as far as I could, because I knew my tyre wasn‘t going to last until the end. I knew opening that gap would be difficult, I had some moments with some riders, and some shaking on the bike – I was struggling, but I still made it through anyway. It was amazing! I have to say ‘thank you’ to the team, because this weekend they worked for the win. We will try to be the best and we‘ll try to work in a good way. We don‘t want to lose the concentration, because we don‘t know what will happen in Malaysia, but for sure the level of motivation will be high after this weekend.”

MotoGP Australia Vinales
Maverick Vinales
Andrea Iannone – P2

“I’m really happy, especially as we were at the top almost all weekend long, and this gives us a lot of positivity. We worked together on improving my feeling with the bike and it meant I was able to finish really close to the top. I felt able to win but it was a hard fight with the others and I was losing ground with them. When I managed to overtake them and keep them behind I realised I couldn’t catch Viñales, so I just tried to defend and manage the tyres. At the end I pushed at 100% to make sure I could get 2nd place.”

MotoGP Australia Iannone Dovi Bautista Rins Rossi Miller
Andrea Iannone
Andrea Dovizioso – P3

“I’m really satisfied with the way the race went. Even though we knew we had good speed, managing to get a podium here is another thing. I’m pleased I got myself immediately into an ideal position in the race, because if you start from the third row here at Phillip Island anything can happen, as we saw. Instead with a bit of luck I immediately managed to make up some positions and after a few laps I was first: I never expected that! Then I had a chance to manage the tyres and reach the end of the race in a good state, even though we were all in trouble a bit. I’m very pleased with the work we’ve done here: Phillip Island was a fundamental test to understand our level of competitiveness and now we know we have made a good step forward over last year.”

MotoGP Australia Dovizioso UC
Andrea Dovizioso
Álvaro Bautista – P4

“At the end of a difficult weekend in which I crashed three times, this fourth place is a great reward for me. To come into a new team and step onto a new bike at a circuit like this was for sure not going to be easy, but I think we’ve worked well together, making steps forward in every session. I started the race really focussed and relaxed because I had no real targets to aim for, except for enjoying riding the Desmosedici GP18. After quite a complicated start, I was able to soon catch up with the leading group and fight for the front positions. In the last few laps I made a few small mistakes and lost contact with Dovizioso and Iannone, but in any case I’m very happy with my overall result, especially for the team and for Ducati, whom I would like to thank once again for the trust they have shown in me.”

MotoGP Australia Bautista UC
Álvaro Bautista
Alex Rins – P5

“It was an interesting race and I was able to learn a lot. During the first part, when I was inside the group, I was feeling good but then when I got the contact from Maverick I lost a lot of ground and it cost me a lot because the group got away, but this is racing. I also lost further time trying to overtake Miller. But we want to focus on the positive points, and there were many, for instance the way I was able to battle with Rossi and defend my 5th place. We’re going to Malaysia with good feelings and we are prepared, so we hope for another nice result there.”

MotoGP Australia QP Vinales Rossi Rins Dovi
Alex Rins chases down Vinales and Rossi
Valentino Rossi – P6

“Unfortunately from the first lap I already started to slide a bit too much on acceleration. I lost some grip compared to yesterday and this morning. It’s a shame because for sure we wanted to try to do better. I tried to ride smoothly and manage the tyres, but unfortunately after 15 laps I was in trouble, because when exiting left corners I had too much spin. We need to understand why this happened and then try to improve, but having Maverick win a race is good news for the team and Yamaha, because it gives great motivation.”

MotoGP Australia Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Jack Miller – P7

“If I have to be honest I was expecting a little more but I am still happy with this result and being the first Independent rider. I got off to a good start even though I honestly didn’t think I would be in the lead so early. In the middle of the race I tried to save my tyres but in the end I didn’t have any room to attack the podium group.”

MotoGP Australia QP Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Franco Morbidelli – P8

“I am very happy with this result, my personal best result in MotoGP. We did a god job to exported the situation with riders going out of the race. Our tyre choice was the right one and I had good pace especially from half-race and I was able to get into the tope ten. I want to thank my crew for a great job this weekend to sort out the set-up of the bike for the race.”

MotoGP Rnd Thailand Morbidelli GP AN
Franco Morbidelli
Aleix Espargaro’ – P9

“On the straight, I was in the slipstream of a lot of riders and at a certain point, a piece of Marc’s bike struck my left hand. I began to feel pain, but fortunately in MotoGP we only use the clutch for the start, so I was able to finish the race. We’ll assess the situation in view of Malaysia. After a less-than-easy weekend, in warm up we made a big step forward and in the race I was able to ride very incisively. This is demonstrated by the fact that we lapped faster than in qualifying, but unfortunately on the final laps, the soft rear tyre began to suffer and I was unable to hold onto eighth place. In any case, the result is good, considering the hard work done this weekend with two different bikes.”

MotoGP Aragon Espargaro Aleix GP AN
Aleix Espargaro – AJRN Image
Bradley Smith – P10

“We did a good job. We saw Phillip Island as an important weekend for KTM because we knew the bike would work quite well here. The team did a fantastically because the main aim of the weekend was to try and set up the bike as best as we could to look after the rear tyre. It meant we had to sacrifice qualification a little bit yesterday but it paid off today. I had a great first lap to come from sixteenth to eighth and then tried to hold the position for as long as possible. Unfortunately towards the end I just didn’t have anything left for Morbidelli or Aleix. Sepang now and it is a difficult track but I think we have some good confidence and the bike has a good setting and it working well for me. I’m optimistic we can keep the same level and take some good points.”

MotoGP Australia Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Karel Abraham – P11

“We have to be happy with this race, we have doubled our points score for the season in just round. I am happy to have had the chance to ride the Ducati GP17, I could see how much potential the bike has but you also have to consider that it is difficult for any rider or chief mechanic to find the perfect set-up for a new bike in just one weekend. In any case we have done a good job and you could see that at the start of the race, when I felt really good. After that the bike started to slide and pump, I changed the mapping and it helped for a couple of laps but then it started again. I didn’t want to use the last two maps because they are for emergency use and we still had a lot of laps to go. The riders behind me were closing in and I wanted to push harder but I couldn’t get any more out of the bike. In the end, luckily, I managed to stay ahead of them.”

MotoGP Australia Abraham
Karel Abraham
Danilo Petrucci – P12

“It’s really a shame. I felt like I had a great feeling right from the warm-up. I went on track very focused and made my best start in my career. Unfortunately at turn two I had a problem with the clutch. I am really sorry but these are the races: once it is the rider who makes a mistake, another time it is the bike that betrays you. We’ll try again in Sepang.”

MotoGP TBG Rnd Phillip Island Petrucci ALI
Danilo Petrucci
Scott Redding – P13

“I am happy with the way the race went. To be honest, I didn’t expect it. Even in warm up, I didn’t have any particularly good feeling. Apparently, staying in the slipstream of the other riders helped me warm up the front tyre better. Maybe in terms of pace I could have done a bit better too, but when I found myself leading the group, I began to have some difficulties. In any case, I battled, overtaking Nakagami on the final lap and bringing home important points. A few crashes helped, but we did a good job anyway turning a complicated situation around.”

MotoGP Silverstone Redding GP AN
Scott Redding
Takaaki Nakagami – P14

“It was a difficult weekend. The weather conditions were a little bit better than yesterday, they were less windy and the track temperature was getting higher and higher. We decided to go with a soft compound on the rear and I think that was the correct choice, but I really struggled in the last ten laps. The lap times were quite strong and I couldn’t find the race pace I wanted. In the end I got into the points which is very good, but I was expecting a better result here so now we have to think about the next one in Sepang and try to be more consistent over the weekend.”

MotoGP Australia Takaaki Nakagami AX
Takaaki Nakagami
Xavier Simeon – P15

“I have a lot of problems with the clutch and once again, my start was horrible. I was last again, but this time at least I was able to recover some positions on the first lap. The bike was very good and I had the pace to fight between eleventh and fifteenth position. Ten laps from the end though, the left flank of the rear tyre was destroyed and I had to slow down. Therefore I’m a little bit disappointed. The weekend has been very good and I always felt strong, but we depend too much on tyre wear. Apart from this, I’m super happy about achieving my first MotoGP point and I want to thank my team because they helped me a lot since I got on this bike. In Malaysia we have to improve the start and work more with the tyres for the race. I hope to have fun again like here and score more points.”

MotoGP Aragon Simeon GP AN
Xavier Simeon
Tom Luthi – P16

“I had a good rhythm for the first ten laps and could stay with the group I was in so I’m little disappointed for this result. But then I lost a lot of edge grip and could not keep corner speed in the fast left-hand corners and I was struggling with understeer and that’s where I lost too much time. I’m disappointed to be 16th again and just miss some championship points.”

MotoGP Misano Luthi GP AN
Tom Luthi
Jordi Torres – P17

“The race has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This morning in the warm-up I felt pretty strong and we had a very promising pace. But it was more windy in the race and tyres maybe did not reach the right working temperature on the first laps because twice I was close to a crash when I tried to push. This affected my confidence and I wasn’t riding comfortably throughout the race. I know what I have to do to go fast, but I lacked the confidence to do it. At least I’m gaining experience in every race and I hope things will go better in Malaysia. Sepang is a very long circuit and I’ll have to learn many things in a short time, because the other riders have done lot of kilometres over there. The heat will also be a new challenge for me. I hope to my level of fitness is high enough.”

MotoGP Rnd Thailand Torres GP AN
Jordi Torres
Mike Jones – P18

“I just wanted to give my best and finish the race, and we achieved our objective. I am very happy and grateful to the Ángel Nieto Team for the opportunity to race in MotoGP in front of the Australian fans. It has been an incredible experience, the power of the bike is crazy and the braking force is unreal. It has been a physically demanding weekend because this is such a different bike to anything I have ridden before.”

MotoGP Australia Mike Jones
Mike Jones
Marc Marquez – DNF

“At first I didn’t understand exactly what had happened, but I was angry because I felt the contact from the rear. I couldn’t continue the race because my seat was broken and moving around. It was impossible to ride. When I arrived in the garage and saw the video, I understood. It was just a race incident because at that point of the track, we arrive really fast, over 300 km/h. I was behind Jack Miller when I braked even a bit later than usual, and then I felt the impact. Zarco had taken the slipstreams from the two of us. You may think he could have considered that, but for me it’s just a race incident and I already spoke with him. What I can say is that today I feel really lucky, and the most important thing for me is that both me and Johann are okay. Today I was really focused, and the race was going as expected. I led for a couple of laps, and then I decided to stay in the group and wait a bit. I had the pace and I felt I was able to fight for the win. It’s unlucky that we got a zero here at Phillip Island, but if next year I can win the title in Japan again and have another DNF here, I’ll sign up for that! Now let’s focus on the next race.”

MotoGP Australia Marquez Damage
Damage to Marc Marquez’s Honda
Dani Pedrosa – DNF

“It has been a difficult weekend. We never had a good feeling over the three days, and unfortunately I crashed out of the race. I wasn’t in a good position, and then I lost the front in the braking point after the straight—quite a big crash, as it’s a fast point. Anyway, we just have to move forward, hoping to have a better race next Sunday.”

MotoGP Australia Pedrosa AX
Dani Pedrosa
Hafizh Syahrin – DNF

“Until lap 19 I had a good race. I just lost the front because I tried to close again on Miller. In the straight it is just impossible, as the Ducati just passes very easily. The guys and myself, we are already working very hard with our package, which is a bit different to the rest of the Yamahas. I was fighting with the faster group in the front, but it was just technically impossible to keep up with them, although I was pushing very hard. It’s a great pity to crash on the 19th lap. Anyway, we keep pushing, working hard and believing in ourselves because my team and me work very hard to be strong in the race. We tried to use our speed for a good result, but in the end we didn’t have a chance to fight with the rest of the riders in front.”

MotoGP Rnd Thailand Syahrin GP AN
Hafizh Syahrin
Johann Zarco – DNF

“It was a bit cold today, but the sunshine made it a nice day. Starting from third position was a good advantage. I got a good start, but in the second corner I slide with the rear and a few guys had the same, I lost a few positions, but then I was really feeling quite ok to attack and try to overtake. I’m happy about the feeling that I was strong and did some good passes. After a few laps, I was still feeling pretty good, I got the slipstream of Jack Miller and Marc Marquez was also there. We were going so fast and when we were braking for corner one, I touched the rear wheel of Marc and totally flew away. I had a big crash, but I’m okay, which is the most important thing, as that crash was really fast It’s a shame about the race, because finish the race would have been important for the independent riders’ championship, but I didn’t. The crash was big and I am sorry that Marc could not finish the race. Thank you to my team, because the bike was competitive today! I did a mistake and I need to make up for it on the next two rounds.”

MotoGP Australia Zarco
Johann Zarco
Pol Espargaro – DNF

“I was super-angry because I think we worked well this weekend and did a lot of laps with the tyres front and rear and we put the Soft options for the race thinking it would be OK. For some reason after six-seven laps it started to drop and I couldn’t open the throttle. After a few more laps it was dangerous to ride the bike so I had to stop. I don’t know what else to say. We made all the processes and procedures to know the tyre 100% but it looks like it can be a lottery. We’ll talk to Michelin and try to learn from this.”

MotoGP Australia Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Davide Brivio – Suzuki ECSTAR Team Manager

“This has been another very good day for our team, we took another podium, the second in a row and the third in 4 races. Andrea had a great battle with many riders and was able to finish 2nd. Because of this big battle it was hard to catch the leader, but anyway, it was a good race and we scored our 7th podium of the season. Alex finishing 5th was also very positive, Top 5 is really important to us. I really hope we can continue like this for the last two rounds of the season and thanks again to everybody involved for always working hard, especially on difficult times.”

MotoGP Australia Iannone
Andrea Iannone
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“What a thrilling and dramatic race! Maverick is always strong at the Phillip Island circuit, and he once again outdid himself in Australia today. He really deserved the victory, because he had been strong the entire weekend. It‘s a great feeling for the team to secure a win again – we have all been working so hard for this. It‘s not just us who have been waiting, but also our fans, so this is as much for them as it is for us. It was a pity that Vale wasn‘t able to join the podium, because he was showing great potential for the majority of the race. It would have been great to have him up there too. He and his crew have also been pushing to the maximum, but sixth place was really the best he could do today due to tyre wear at the end of the race. Overall this weekend has been a great moral boost, because both riders were competitive, so we‘re all looking forward to the next round, the Grand Prix of Malaysia, in just a week‘s time.”

MotoGP Australia Vinales Forcada
Maverick Vinales with crew chief Roman Forcada
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager

“There are some days you wish what you see is a dream – or rather a nightmare. But unfortunately, what we saw today was reality. We had high hopes with a great Qualifying from both of our riders, Johann on the front row and Hafizh with his best ever Qualifying in 10th. The start was difficult as usual, it was a big pack as we saw in the other two classes and clearly, Johann was trying to find his way through the field after a bit hectic lap one. We could see that he was really fast and I think he wanted to use the advantage of the soft-soft choice he had made for front and rear and that was quite intense until that incident, which was unbelievable. When you see a rider going down at such a high speed – I think he touched the ground at 280 km/h – for the few seconds following the incident, you just hope nothing bad will happen. Johann had a really good reflex and although his bottom is quite sore, he was strong to walk back to the garage and be still fully fit and ready to race the next round. That was a big thing. Unfortunate for the fans and the racing overall, Marc and Johann were out of the race, which made it less exciting. So, our focus went on Hafizh, who was behind the leading group until he slowly los the contact. But he was still holding on a good eighth position and we were quite happy because although he was loosing ground he was still keeping a good pace and he crashed without any warning, without really understanding why. That was the end of our weekend. Both of our riders could have been really strong and both of them get no points, which is a big disappointment. I know you always have to keep up the ‘never-give-up-attitude’, but today it is hard, also with Remy in the Moto2 class. The only good thing is, our riders are fit, ok and we have a race next week.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Moto Wayne Remy Gardner GP AN
Remy Gardner
Mike Leitner – KTM Team Manager MotoGP

“Race conditions can be difficult here and so can tyre choice. It went quite well for Bradley and he ran where he we think we can be – between 8-10. We lost ninth position by four hundredths of a second: it was very close. A shame for Pol. He had a different tyre choice but then other riders also had that selection. In the middle of the race he had a very big drop which is not usual and he had to stop. So we need to analyse what happened. He should have also been able to fight for the top ten. We’ll go to Malaysia now and try to make it happen.”

MotoGP Australia Bradley Smith Pol Espargaro
Bradley Smith & Pol Espargaro
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“Phillip Island is always a big challenge and this year was certainly no different. The strong gusting winds and cold temperatures made it difficult for everyone, but the whole Michelin team worked in a very professional and methodical way with the riders to make sure the tyres which were best suited to the conditions and riding styles were used today. Despite the challenges, the race was very exciting and it is good for Michelin to have another winner, both rider and manufacturer, and it is also pleasing to see all six manufacturers in the top-ten and three different ones on the podium. We are constantly striving to give tyres to all that they can use to the best of their abilities, so having results such as this are very rewarding. The Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix is a very big occasion on the company’s calendar and this has been another great event. We have again learned a lot about the toughest track of the year and this will enable us to come back even stronger next year.”

MotoGP Australia Michelin
Michelin at the Australian MotoGP 2018
2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Results
Pos Rider Team Time
1. Vinales M. Movistar Yamaha 40:51.081
2. Iannone A. Team Suzuki Ecstar +1.543
3. Dovizioso A. Ducati Team +1.832
4. Bautista A. Ducati Team +4.072
5. Rins A. Team Suzuki Ecstar +5.017
6. Rossi V. Movistar Yamaha +5.132
7. Miller J. Alma Pramac Racing +6.756
8. Morbidelli F. Marc VDS Racing Team +21.805
9. Espargaro A. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +22.904
10. Smith B. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +22.940
11. Abraham K. Angel Nieto Team +34.386
12. Petrucci D. Alma Pramac Racing +35.025
13. Redding S. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +36.348
14. Nakagami T. LCR Honda +36.389
15. Simeon X. Reale Avintia Racing +44.214
16. Luthi T. Marc VDS Racing Team +48.226
17. Torres J. Reale Avintia Racing +1:04.965
18. Jones M. Angel Nieto Team +1:19.817
DNF Espargaro P. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing DNF
DNF Syahrin H. Monster Tech 3 DNF
DNF Pedrosa D. Repsol Honda DNF
DNF Marquez M. Repsol Honda DNF
DNF Zarco J. Monster Tech 3 DNF
2018 MotoGP Championship Standings
Pos Rider Team Points
1. Marquez Marc Repsol Honda Team 296
2. Dovizioso Andrea Ducati Team 210
3. Rossi Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 195
4. Vinales Maverick Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 180
5. Crutchlow Cal LCR Honda 148
6. Petrucci Danilo Alma Pramac Racing 137
7. Zarco Johann Monster Yamaha Tech 3 133
8. Iannone Andrea Team Suzuki Ecstar 133
9. Lorenzo Jorge Ducati Team 130
10. Rins Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 129
11. Bautista Alvaro Angel Nieto Team 96
12. Pedrosa Dani Repsol Honda Team 95
13. Miller Jack Alma Pramac Racing 83
14. Morbidelli Franco Marc VDS Racing Team 46
15. Espargaro Aleix Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 39
16. Rabat Tito Reale Avintia Racing 35
17. Espargaro Pol Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 35
18. Syahrin Hafizh Monster Yamaha Tech 3 34
19. Smith Bradley Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 29
20. Nakagami Takaaki LCR Honda 21
21. Redding Scott Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 15
22. Abraham Karel Angel Nieto Team 10
23. Kallio Mika Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6
24. Nakasuga Katsuyuki Yamaha Factory Team 2
25. Simeon Xavier Reale Avintia Racing 1
26. Pirro Michele Ducati Team 1
27. Luthi Thomas Marc VDS Racing Team 0
28. Bradl Stefan Honda Racing Corporation 0
29. Torres Jordi MV Agusta Reparto Corse 0
30. Jones Mike Reale Avintia Racing 0
31. Guintoli Sylvain Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team 0
32. Ponsson Christophe Ponsson C. 0
2018 MotoGP Team Points
Pos Team Points
1. Repsol Honda Team 391
2. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 375
3. Ducati Team 353
4. Suzuki MotoGP 262
5. Alma Pramac Racing 220
6. LCR Honda 169
7. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 167
8. Angel Nieto Team 93
9. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 64
10. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 54
11. Estrella Galicia 0,0 46
12. Reale Avintia Racing 36

Source: MCNews.com.au