Johann Zarco was forced to push his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine over the line at yesterday’s San Marino Grand Prix after running out of fuel on the last lap, according to the Frenchman who currently leads both independent and rookie of the year standings.
Unusually for the Yamaha machine, he ended up struggling throughout the final lap of the race, eventually pushing home from seventh place to nab a single championship point in fifteenth.
"It was challenging but tough for everyone. In the warm up I saw that I wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but then at the beginning of the Grand Prix, I felt quite good. I was happy to have control and see that the other riders were not much faster than me. I stayed focused and then I saw Crutchlow and Lorenzo crash, who are dangerous for me in the championship.
“Because they fell, it made me realise how difficult the conditions were for everyone. The race was long but step-by-step it got less wet, although it did not dry and this gave me some confidence but not as much as I expected. I had to stay focused and in the end, I was managing the gap to Redding quite well so I thought that everything was in order for the last lap.
“However, I had no more fuel from turn eleven, which was a shame. I did my best to preserve the fuel until the last corner but then the bike stopped and I had to push it on the home straight and that was long. Some riders overtook me and it’s a big pity but I made sure that I got to the end because it’s the racing mind. I finished fifteenth, which equals one championship point but it is better than nothing."
And while wet conditions like Sunday’s race at Misano – and the resulting rear tyre spinning – can eat up fuel faster than expected, Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal says they’ve got some investigating to do to get to the bottom of the problem.
“I must admit that it’s a very difficult race result to think about. We did an ok job with Johann Zarco throughout the weekend as he had a good qualifying, and started on the second row of the grid. He began the last lap in a solid seventh position, with a gap of 2.5 seconds over Redding and there was no way he could have caught us.
“It would have been a strong result but unfortunately, we only finished thanks to Johann’s dedication and effort to push the bike over the line and score one point. He ran out of fuel, which is something that is unacceptable for me, and tonight we have to sit down with the Yamaha engineers as well as our own in order to understand why this happened. It should never occur and I feel very sorry for Johann who did a great job. He didn’t deserve that so I would like to apologise to him. We had Rodney Sacks, the Monster Energy CEO, with us today and I wanted to give him something to cheer about and this is not what I was expecting.”