Rapid Zarco begins Phillip Island challenge – Solid opening performance by Parkes
Johann Zarco commenced the Australian Grand Prix with instant speed after powering to 8th at the close of the first day. He kicked off the weekend by rocketing to 2nd in Free Practice 1 and built up his pace in the afternoon before finishing 0.354 back from the top three.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger’s round 16 replacement, Broc Parkes, made a confident start to proceedings in front of his home crowd. After a positive showing in the FP1 shakedown, he made a large step forward in the second practice session to cut 0.902 from his previous best. Tomorrow’s action begins with FP3 at 10:55 local time, or 01:55 in central Europe, where both riders aim to make further progress ahead of the qualifying shootout.
Position: 8th – Time: 1’29.667 – Laps: 39
“It was a positive opening day and I am happy that I started with a solid pace. In FP1, the bike felt good and I could ride some decent times quite early on. This gave me confidence and so, I was able to relax and I worked with the team to progress even more. In the afternoon, I could not be faster than this morning, as my personal best was almost the same time, yet everyone was quick and we are close. This means that it’s not easy to make big improvements but I am pushing and I hope that we can find solutions. The main area of focus is the stability because the wind and the speed of this track make the bike move a lot and this is what we will work on.”
Position: 23rd – Time: 1’32.152 – Laps: 38
“The call-up for this opportunity came at the last minute as I was in Andorra and I asked for it on Friday. Then, I heard from Hervé the next day and so I jumped on the plane and got here midweek. In all honesty, it was a bit of a struggle today as I thought I would get on with the bike quicker. It has been not easy and I had a small crash in the afternoon, which caused us to lose some time at the end. Yet, up until then, we started to advance and I made progress. The best guys in the world are in this class and they have been on their bikes for a long time so to jump on the Yamaha and try and be competitive straight away is definitely not an easy task. However, it’s going well and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”