Ajo Motorsport rider crowned Moto2 World Champion on first day of Japanese Grand Prix.
After 14 Grands Prix and with 4 remaining of the season, Johann Zarco was proclaimed Moto2 World Champion 2015 on the opening day of the Japanese GP. The retirement through injury after FP1 of his only title rival, Tito Rabat, combined with a 78-point lead in the overall standings, enabled him to clinch the title mathematically. It is the crowning moment of a dream season for the Frenchman, and for the Ajo Motorsport structure who debuted in the class in 2015.
In 2011, in the 125cc class, Johann Zarco took at Motegi his first Grand Prix victory –under the Ajo Motorsport banner. It was an unforgettable year that allowed him to fight for the world title, eventually finishing runner-up. Four years later, the Frenchman wanted to repeat the experience and return to a team with whom he had shown his best form. The title this season, in the team’s rookie campaign, is Ajo Motorsport’s fourth World Championship after three in 125cc/Moto3 (2008, 2010 and 2012).
With 284 points from 14 rounds and 78 points clear of his nearest rival, Zarco also set a record of 12 consecutive Moto2 podiums this season –6 of them victories. Zarco is the first Frenchman to win the Moto2 title and the fourth to win the intermediate category. Never before has a Frenchman achieved three consecutive victories in the World Championship, or six wins in a single year.
Zarco did not want to lose sight of the job at hand this weekend, and was second fastest in the first free practice session. He was quickest in the afternoon session, with a 1:51.158 lap. Tomorrow the Ajo Motorsport rider will try to repeat the position and take pole for the Japanese GP.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 1:51.158
2. Alex Rins (Kalex) 1:51.197 +0.039
3. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 1:51.352 +0.194
4. Sam Lowes (Speed Up) 1:51.540 +0.382
5. Luis Salom (Kalex) 1:51.710 +0.552
Moto2 World Championship Standing 2015
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 284 points
2. Tito Rabat (Kalex) 206 points
3. Alex Rins (Kalex) 184 points
4. Sam Lowes (Speed Up) 144 points
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 142 points
“It’s fantastic. It’s a dream come true to be Moto2 World Champion. Now it is time to be calm and we will leave celebrating until Sunday after the race, because now we have to think about this Grand Prix, but I’m very happy. I did not expect things to go this way, and I feel bad for Tito [Rabat]. I hope he recovers soon.
It has been a spectacular season, and we have always been fighting for the win at every race. If we haven’t got it, we have always been very close. The work we have done has been great and the atmosphere in the team has been fundamental.
In 2011 I had experienced my best year in the World Championship, with Ajo Motorsport, and I knew that if I wanted to show my top form again, we should get back together. This year we were able to work together again and, thanks to my experience and the passion for winning that they have, we have been able to finish the job we started in 2011.
I want to thank all the whole team, Aki [Ajo], Laurent [Fellon] and his family, my family and friends, the partners and all who have helped me.
Hopefully on Sunday we can celebrate the title with a victory.”
“It’s an amazing feeling to win the Moto2 World Championship. It is the goal we all have, to win the World Championship one day. It is the fourth title for Ajo Motorsport, but each title always feels as good as the first. This is why we keep working hard here every year. It is always a very exciting time. I want to thank everyone who made this possible and, of course, Johann, his family, his manager Laurent [Fellon] and our great team for the great job they have done. I also want to thank my family for their support, both in the good times and the bad. Also our partners, as without them none of this would not have been possible. It has been a great season for everyone.”