The most traditional track in the calendar welcomes the MotoGP circus this weekend for the 69thedition of the Dutch Grand Prix. Yet, Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco is eager to turn his fortunes during the Motul TT Assen. With 73 points the Frenchman is placed in fourth of the overall standings, following a fantastic start of the season. Lately, he was forced to focus on securing as many points as possible and therefore aims to retrieve his initial great feeling during the eighth round of the 2018 championship.
Meanwhile, Hafizh Syahrin emerged as one of the best rookies this season. The Malaysian newcomer did a perfect weekend in Catalunya last time out until an unlucky mistake stopped him from bringing home the laurels for his hard work in Montmeló. Currently sitting just two points behind Franco Morbidelli, Syahrin’s aim for this weekend is obvious: fighting back to the top of the provisional Rookie of the Year standings, starting from FP1 at 9.55 local time this Friday.
Championship: 4th – Points: 73
“Assen is a nice track with a lot of history and a circuit, I won only one time in 2016. I could be fast with the Moto2 and last year with the MotoGP it was quite ok. The race has been difficult, because it was raining a little bit and I was scared to crash, so I did the wrong decision to come back to the pit lane. So, this year, I’m going to see what the weather will be like. I want to be on the top. I think it’s a track, which is also good for the Yamaha, Valentino is always incredibly strong there and it means, I can also do great things with my bike. Therefore, I will try to push all the time and even in the race, if it’s raining a little bit, I will keep full throttle to stay with the top guys.”
Championship: 17th – Points: 17
“I will try my best for the Assen race because I want to finish the race in the points again and try to make the same like in Barcelona from FP1 to race day before I crashed. I hope I can do well there, as I know from last year, that the Yamaha bike works really good there. Furthermore, I hope the conditions will be pleasant as well. I keep working hard on myself and try to be ready with the team from FP1. I want to fight for the best rookie spot and aim to go to Q2 for the first time.”
“Assen is a very special and important race. Especially, because it’s the first European race in the northern part of Europe, which even though I love the south, but once we’ve done Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona, you really enjoy the Assen paddock, the temperature is a bit lower and this is better to keep the energy. Of course, it will be busy as well, but for sure less difficult to handle the whole weekend there in terms of paddock life, everything is just a bit cooler. I think this is much appreciated by entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, including the riders. Regarding the race, Assen has a beautiful layout and offers very often exciting races. Everybody knows how many incidents had happened in last chicane, which is Assen’s trademark. This is an exciting venue. Referring to our riders, Johann did his very first pole position in Assen last year and the race was good until some drops came and then he decided to pit in because he thought that the big shower was coming, but it never came, which meant the end of podium charge. I believe he likes Assen and the Yamaha M1 likes Assen too. Altogether, I hope he can be a bit closer to the top 5 group and even to the rostrum. Hafizh did exceptional race in Catalunya until five laps to go, which still in my mind. I can’t help thinking how great it would have been ending in P9, but this is just a part of the learning process as a rookie. He told me he didn’t enjoy Assen on the Moto2 bike, but I said to him that this was the same for Johann on some tracks, but on the M1 he just loves it. Let’s see the positive side and hopefully we have Hafizh back on track like he was in Catalunya. We hope for him, that he can stay inside top 10, which is his target. We are impatient to be in the Netherlands, because it’s very special event, the atmosphere is always great, Assen city is full of life and clearly the Assen community lives for the Grand Prix, which is a very good feeling. After a few days of rest here in beautiful Provence, we feel ready to go, especially after the interesting test we had on Monday following the Catalan GP.”