MotoGP Rider of the Year: 3rd - Johann Zarco
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And with this year’s MotoGP championship closer than ever, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think – but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
3rd: Johann Zarco
Winning two world championships in the Moto2 class means we knew before the season even started that Johann Zarco was the real deal. But no one expected the Frenchman to burst onto the scene with the aggression and skill that he showed from his first day on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine.
Leading the first race of the season at Qatar for the opening six laps, it was an early demonstration of just how skilled he was and how quickly had adapted to the MotoGP machine. But before long, he was able to back up that performance (one that ended up in a fall) with strong results and an incredible debut podium finish in front of a home crowd in Le Mans.
He also didn’t take long to show that aggression, either, running afoul of fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi in Texas. Showing no mercy from then on, he’s upset many of his rivals this season – and doesn’t give a damn about it!
And while he might have tasted podium success in 2017, the debut win has escaped him – so far. It’s only a matter of time though, before he heads to the top step – especially if he gets to play a role in developing next year’s machine alongside Rossi and Viñales.