After leading for 16 laps at the Qatar season-opener, Johann Zarco will try again to make history as the first satellite Yamaha winner of the four-stroke MotoGP era, in Argentina this weekend.

The Frenchman's charge faltered due to a technical problem with his front tyre at Losail, sending him from first to eighth in the closing laps.

But the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider is 'highly motivated' to repeat that speed at Termas de Rio Hondo, where he rode from 14th to 5th in only his second MotoGP appearance, one year ago.

“I’m happy to be back on the bike soon," Zarco said. "After Qatar we had two weeks of rest and I tried the best to prepare myself and thought about everything that happened during the first race of this year’s championship.

"I’m highly motivated to repeat the fastest lap and I want to lead the race again, plus take the opportunity to win this time.

"At the moment, our first target is to push for the victory and then, if we feel good or not, we can see which goal we can set on Sunday, but I think we are ready to have a great result in South America.”

Rookie team-mate Hafizh Syahrin faces a new challenge this weekend, with Termas de Rio Hondo the first of many circuits this year where he has not previously tested with his new 'crazy horse'.

“I tried to focus on my physical condition and also my mind for the next race in Argentina. I’m ready for the second round and so excited to ride my crazy horse again!" said Syahrin, who made history with 14th place and the first MotoGP points by a Malaysian in theopenng round.

"Since Qatar I tried to learn more. I watched some MotoGP action from last year to see what they did during Qualifying and the race. I think I could gain some experience in seeing this and now I want to try to adapt it on the weekend.

"I trained hard, so I’m more than ready for Argentina and thrilled to ride the big machine in Termas de Río Hondo.”

Team manager Herve Poncharal is looking forward to the weekend.

"This is a place and a country we really like and we enjoy spending a week in Termas de Río Hondo," he said. "The circuit has a beautiful layout, is very interesting and technical, plus provides great fights every year with all the safety required.

"Regarding our two riders, I believe the Yamaha YZR-M1 has always been fast there. Last year Johann scored his first points in MotoGP with a 5th place and a big recovery from a poor qualifying.

"Hafizh will have to learn this track. But since he joined us, he was very impressive and he will be soon feeling at ease and at home on his M1 at this circuit.

"All in all, the break since Doha was good, but we all feel ready and eager to race again. I hope the weather will be with us and the crowd will be even bigger than last year. We can’t wait to be there to meet our Argentinian friends.”

Free practice starts on Friday.

 

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