Zarco salvages eighth place in Qatar29/03/2015
Ajo Motorsport rider suffers mechanical problem three laps from the finish, denying him his first Moto2 race win as he eventually places eighth.
The first Grand Prix of the year in Qatar had a sad end for Johann Zarco. The Ajo Motorsport rider looked to be on course for a strong finish at Losail, but a shifter problem with his Kalex three laps from the end saw him miss out on the chance to claim a win or a podium. The Frenchman was leading the race with an advantage of over 4 seconds when the mechanical issue occured, and he was only able to improvise a makeshift solution to take him to the chequered flag in a creditable eighth place.
Zarco maintained his second place on the grid after the red lights went out, and at the end of the first lap he was able to overtake race leader Sam Lowes. Pushing hard from the start, the Frenchman established a gap as his two main rivals throughout the weekend -Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat- crashed out on the third lap. Zarco continued his escape at a furious pace, pulling away to more than 4 seconds ahead of the rider in second place. Seemingly en route to his first Moto2 win, the Ajo Motorsport rider suffered the cruel misfortune of a shifter problem with 3 laps to go, forcing him to slow down and drop to eighth place at the end of the 20-lap contest.
After a bittersweet weekend, Johann Zarco and Ajo Motorsport will now set their sights on the next Grand Prix, which takes place on April 12th at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Results – Race
1. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 40:18.532
2. Xavier Simeon (Kalex) +5.051
3. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) +12.123
4. Alex Rins (Kalex) +14.202
5. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) +14.385
8. Johann Zarco (Kalex) +18.541
Moto2 World Championship Standing 2015
1. Jonas Folger (Kalex) 25 points
2. Xavier Simeon (Kalex) 20 points
3. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 16 points
4. Alex Rins (Kalex) 13 points
5. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 11 points
8. Johann Zarco (Kalex) 8 points
Aki Ajo – Team Manager,
“The end of the Moto2 race was very disappointing, because everything was going very well until 3 laps to go. It’s sad that we were not able to finish well in the race due to a mechanical issue. But that’s racing and these things can happen. On the other hand, we are happy because the team are working well -even though it is only the first race of our debut in the class. We have a great team and Johann [Zarco] has a great pace. Despite what happened today, he is highly motivated and eager to get to Austin.”
“Overall I am happy, because I was very strong all the time today. In the race, after a good start I took control after overtaking Sam [Lowes]. The feeling with the bike was very good and I appreciate the work that the team have done, because it has allowed me to be quick and consistent in the race. I had a good advantage over the second-placed rider and was enjoying the race, focusing on getting to the line and winning, but a few laps from the end I had problems with my gear shifter and I had to make do with only using third gear. From that moment on, the goal was just to finish the race. Because we had such a good lead I was able to finish eighth, which in the end is a good result. Now we have to prepare well ahead of Texas, because I think we can also do very well there.”