Monster Yamaha Tech 3
One of the three original founders from 1989, team owner & manager Herve Poncharal took a major gamble by signing double Moto2 World Champion Johan Zarco & Moto2 race winner Jonas Folger as his MotoGP riders for 2017.
His selection was to be fully vindicated. Both riders were a revelation, particularly Frenchman Zarco who placed an incredible 6th overall in his ‘Rookie’ year, with a best result of second at both Le Mans & Valencia.
Indeed from the opening round at Qatar, where he enjoyed a comfortably lead before inexplicably crashing out, he looked anything but a rookie. Claiming Pole at both Assen & Motegi the ‘satellite’ Yamaha team rider was on four separate occasions to head home the factory Yamahas of both Valentino Rossi & Maverick Vinales!
The man from Cannes, on the Cote d’Azure is retained for 2018, and will be looking to add a maiden MotoGP victory to his already impressive CV ……..just don’t be surprised if we get to witness his trade mark celebration ‘back flip’ on more than one occasion this year!
Sadly, the health problem that caused Jonas Folger to miss the final four races of last year (still finished impressive 10th overall) have meant that the highly talented German will now sit out all of 2018 as he continues his recuperation.
The announcement which only came in January of this year, presented Herve Poncharal with the difficult task of sourcing a replacement at the eleventh hour.
Plucked from Moto2 (tenth overall 2017) Hafizh Syahrin gets the ride. As a MotoGP rookie 2018 is going to be a massive challenge to the Malaysian national. We wish him well.