Johann Zarco and Team JiR finish fourth in Estoril thriller

Johann Zarco and Team JiR finish fourth in Estoril thrillerJohann Zarco finished today’s Portuguese Moto2 race in a fine fourth place, in only his third championship event on the Team JiR MotoBI. At the start of the 26-lap race, Johann was fighting hard in the pack from his fourth spot on the grid and was fifth by the middle of the first lap, and from there he moved up to fourth position. He then spent the early laps of the race battling for the lead with Marc Marquez, Thomas Luthi and Pol Espargaro. Johann was as high as second place after eight laps of the race, but the greater experience of the top three soon told, and they pulled away from the Frenchman, leaving him in a lonely fourth place which he held until the flag. This superb result moves the 21-year-old into sixth place in the Moto2 world championship. The final battle for the lead was a thrilling affair, with the race won on the last lap by Marquez.

I think this was a very positive race for us. Johann learned a lot from the other guys today about racing a Moto2 machine and he learned a lot about his MotoBI. I expected that his lap times would drop off a little in the middle of the race as this was the first time he stayed with the leading riders. This was good experience for him, as he had to try and adapt to riding on the worn tyres. For me today it was important for a young rider like Johann to finish the race and get that experience of racing the MotoBI on tyres that are past their best. We are enthusiastic about how our project is going at the moment in Moto2, we are going forward in the right direction and looking forward to the next races even if perhaps we will not have such high expectations of a similar result, as it is still early days for Johann in Moto2.

Final position: 4th

Best lap: 1m 41.128s

That was a good race for me! In the first corner from fourth position on the grid I tried to keep this position and close the door on the other riders, but I was overtaken by a few of them. I then tried to get closer to the leaders and soon after some laps I found myself in third position. I passed Espargaro and later Marquez into the first corner and I could see Luthi was leading with a small gap, but with every passing lap I could feel that the rear tyre on my MotoBI was losing traction a little. Even so, my pace was well into the 1m 41s bracket, so I was happy. When I was in fourth place I began to have some slides from the rear tyre, and then Andrea Iannone was catching me up, so I had to pick up the pace again and I held him off to keep fourth place. This result is better than I was expecting at Estoril, so I am happy. With this result I can go forward to Le Mans without so much pressure for the result. I now want to continue with my training and be even stronger at the front of the Moto2 pack.

GP of Portugal final classification:
1. Marc MARQUEZ 44’04.086
2. Pol ESPARGARO +1.987
3. Thomas LUTHI +2.071
4. Johann ZARCO +9.227
5. Andrea IANNONE +10.481
6. Alex DE ANGELIS +21.180
7. Toni ELIAS +21.394
8. Julian SIMON +21.504
9. Mika KALLIO +21.581
10. Bradley SMITH +24.100

World Championship classification after GP of Portugal:
1. MARQUEZ Marc – 70
2. ESPARGARO Pol – 61
3. LUTHI Thomas – 43
4. IANNONE Andrea – 33
5. REDDING Scott – 28
6. ZARCO Johann – 23
7. KALLIO Mika – 22
8. ELIAS Toni – 19
9. SMITH Bradley – 18
10. DE ANGELIS Alex – 14

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