Recent results suggest that Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) will be difficult to beat in this weekend’s Motul TT Assen. Quartararo won and Zarco finished second, days ago at the Sachsenring, and they now hold first and third respectively in the MotoGP™ World Championship standings.
Ahead of Free Practice at the TT Circuit Assen, we hear from the fast Frenchmen about the season so far and the weekend coming up at the Cathedral.
Reflections at the halfway mark
The summer break might not start until after this weekend, but with 10 rounds now completed and 10 to go this year, we have reached the halfway point of the 2022 MotoGP™ season. It’s a similar story for Quartararo and Zarco, starting slowly but coming on strongly since the return to Europe for the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Quartararo: “It has been a great first part of the season. Qatar, Argentina, and Austin were quite tough – I think I was complaining a little bit too much about my top speed and I was not focused on my riding. Then when we arrived in Europe, I could really focus on my riding and had great results.
From Portugal to now, we have been on the podium almost all the time – just in Le Mans, we finished fourth – but I think that we have had a great first 10 races, exactly the same points as the same stage last year, so I think we are going in a great way.”
Zarco: “I’m pleased with how it’s going for me, this first half, because I didn’t start as well as I started the ’21 season with two podiums in a row in Qatar last year. But, trying to get focused really on each weekend, give the maximum energy that I can, and I try to control well this Ducati bike. The 2022 bike is sometimes a bit more difficult to fix, so then the races are becoming sometimes a bit more difficult, but the results were coming in recent races and just for this, I’m really happy.”
The trend says Zarco will win this weekend
One of the quirkier talking points in recent days has been Zarco’s progression. In the last four races, he has finished fifth, then fourth, then third, and second. Does he think the pattern can continue this Sunday and the two-time Moto2™ World Champion will pick up his first ever MotoGP™ race win?
Zarco: “Easier to say than do it, but why not? It would be so fantastic to follow this logic. I think the tricky weather which we can have during this weekend, for me it can help just to save some energy physically. With the rain tyres, I enjoy the bike even more because you need less strength to bring the bike into the corner, so for me the tricky conditions can be great to follow that logic. Let’s see.”
Track-by-track: The keys to cracking the Cathedral of Speed
Could rain spice things up?
As Zarco alluded to, rain is forecast for Friday in Assen, before the weather is expected to improve on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, the threat of more showers will remain into race day, creating uncertainty for riders and teams, but Quartararo is hoping to enjoy all that Assen has to offer in the dry.
Quartararo: “I think I’ve improved my riding quite a lot on the wet, but when you arrive at a kind of track like Assen, you want to have a dry track, because for me it’s one of the tracks you enjoy the most mythical tracks on the calendar, so we hope for a dry race.”
The stage is set for another exhilarating round of MotoGP™ at the TT Circuit Assen. Make sure you catch FP1 for the premier class on Friday at 09:55 local time (GMT +2).