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Johann Zarco at the 2018 GP of Spain
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Zarco Sears to Second in MotoGP after Spanish Crash-fest

May 062018

Opportunity didn't just knock for Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco in Jerez for the fourth round of 2018 MotoGP…it barrelled through the gravel and through the carnage of twisted metal. The electric Frenchman bagged his second podium result of the season in Spain and scaled the championship standings to sit in second position with a salivating prospect of a home Grand Prix at Le Mans just a fortnight away.

The 28 year old inherited his runner-up prize through the misfortune of others and thanks to his own steady progress as MotoGP thrilled again. The 45 degree track temperature in Andalucía and across the recently resurfaced Jerez asphalt meant an arduous 25 lap dash. The demands on the Michelin rubber were too much for the likes of Alex Rins, Pole sitter Cal Crutchlow – the Brit sliding out of a top five battle in the formative stages – and then a spectacular collision between Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa in the tussle for second place that left all three feeling the rough end of the ‘Dry Sack’ corner.

Zarco, chasing just behind, somehow negotiated the metallic melee and found himself running solo. “What I thought was: ‘how many bikes are on the ground or down?!’ You see the Repsol one, but you cannot believe that all three were down,” he admitted as race fans across the world also gaped at the scenes. “When I saw that, I say ‘okay, second with a big advantage. Seven laps to the end. I have to finish the race and stay focused.’ It was not difficult but I didn't want to make a mistake. When a chance comes to you I was there to catch it.”

 

Zarco has moved up to be the nearest challenger to world champ Marc Marquez, who has now claimed two of the four events so far. He is also leaving factory Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales in the shade. “We are second now; much better than what we expected at the beginning of the year,” said #5. “For sure it’s where I want to fight and I’m so happy to be there. Like a dream. And before the French Grand Prix: it’s so good.”

Chasing and usurping the Honda man is one of the next targets as the season ploughs on to France, Italy and Catalunya in the coming weeks. “But I feel I’m improving the way I can control the bike and the way I want to control the bike for the future. I hope I can fight with him,” Zarco opined. “Every grand prix is different. So let’s see.”

 

Jerez was also memorable for Lorenzo Baldassarri and his first Moto2 win of his career and the first since 2016. The Italian owned the top step of the box ahead of flatmate and championship leader Pecco Bagnaia.

 

The fast and tempting curves of Le Mans awaits in two weeks.

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