Zarco seals Moto2 World Championship with victory30/10/2016
Ajo Motorsport rider ensures Moto2 title in Malaysia at first available opportunity with win number six of the season.
Johann Zarco made history on Sunday at Sepang by becoming the first two-time Moto2 World Champion. The Ajo Motorsport rider was able to seal the title at the first available chance, winning the Malaysian GP and retaining the honour that he won last season. On a completely wet track which was drying out during the race, the Frenchman set a frantic pace on the final laps for his sixth win of the year. In addition, he became the first French rider ever to take two World Championships.
Heavy rain came down when the Moto2 riders were on the grid at Sepang. Using wet tyres, the riders undertook the 19-lap contest very cautiously, and poleman Zarco dropped down two places on the opening lap. However, he would swiftly regain second place behind Franco Morbidelli, whilst title rivals Thomas Luthi and Alex Rins languished further down the field.
As the track dried out, Zarco began to up his pace and establish an advantage –as he had done in qualifying on Saturday. With 6 laps remaining, he made a pass at Turn 4 that put him into the lead, then broke away to cross the line more than 3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
The 25 points earned at the Malaysian GP give Zarco an insurmountable lead in the overall standings of 37 points, meaning that the final race of the season at Valencia will be a title celebration for the two-time Moto2 World Champion.
Aki Ajo – Team Manager
“It’s hard to find the words today; it has been a fantastic day here in Malaysia. When we started the project in Moto2 two years ago I would never have imagined that we would win the title twice in consecutive years. As everyone knows, winning the second title is even more difficult mentally than the first, which is why it is something really special. I am very grateful to have a rider like Johann [Zarco], the whole team we have, the partners, everyone around us… It is difficult to find the way to express my gratitude at being part of this project, with so many wonderful people around it. Thank you.”
Results – Race
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 45:51.036
2. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) +3.256
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex) +3.689
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) +21.428
5. Hafizh Syahrin (Kalex) +24.700
Moto2 World Championship Standing 2016
1. Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) 251 points
2. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 214 points
3. Alex Rins (Kalex) 203 points
4. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 197 points
5. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 162 points
5 JOHANN ZARCO
“It’s great to be the first two-time Moto2 World Champion, and it’s hard not to cry at a moment like this. It was a good race in wet conditions for me, as although I was not the fastest. I had a good pace and could follow Franco [Morbidelli]. Then the track began to dry out and, like yesterday in qualifying, I felt a lot better than my rivals, found my line and was able to find references. It is great to take the win and the title. A lot of things went through my mind on the last three laps, and I had to be very focused, but the advantage of three seconds made me more confident –if not calmer. I want to thank the Ajo Motorsport and everyone who has supported me. I love all my family, and also my ‘motorcycle family’, and wish the best for them. It is very nice to be World Champion for the second time with them. This title has been more exciting than last year’s, because the situation was different, it was harder and I had more pressure on me. Now it’s time to celebrate with everyone and go to Valencia without pressure.”
Born in Cannes (France) in 1990, Johann Zarco’s passion for motorcycles began as a child. A meeting with Laurent Fellon, an expert in the world of motorcycle racing, was instrumental in launching his career. In 2003 he debuted in the Italian Pocket Bike series, as well as participating in various championships in Italy and Europe. In his first year of competition he finished fourth at the Pocket Bike European Championship in the Junior C category and during two years (2005 and 2006) he placed second in Europe in the Pocket Bike Mini Junior and Senior Open classes.