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Johann Zarco crowned Moto2 ‘Rookie of the Year’ at Phillip Island

This weekend the penultimate round of the 2012 MotoGP Championship took place at Phillip Island Australia, which saw one SHARK-man crowned ‘Rookie of the Year’ and further vital championship points collected.

Johann Zarco (JiR Team) took a superb sixth place finish in the Moto2 race after a tough battle with more experience riders in the field. Despite being as high as fourth place in the early stages, the young Frenchman struggled to stay with the lead pack and decided to concentrate on scoring further points, which eventually saw him crowned Moto2′s ‘Rookie of the Year’. Zarco’s points today saw him move back into 10th in the overall championship standings. Meanwhile fellow SHARK-supported Scott Redding finished his weekend in fourth place.

In the 27-lap MotoGP race, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) continued to impress in his rookie year finishing in sixth place after a strong battle with experienced riders Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Dovizioso. Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) finished just outside the points in 11th place.

The final race of the season takes place at Valencia, Spain on 10-11 November.

Johann Zarco: « I’m fine with finishing the race in sixth position and happy to be Rookie of the Year and regain 10th in the championship, but although I enjoyed today’s race it wasn’t easy. At the beginning of the race I made a good start and was as high as fourth in the early laps. Then I couldn’t match the times of the leaders and fell back into the following pack. There it was a big battle and I made some overtakes and on the last lap coming out of the last corner I was fifth but then as I always wasn’t so fast in the final sector I got taken for that position before the line and lost fifth by just one-tenth of a second. The pace was quite hot in the race and I wasn’t far off my qualifying lap time, with the average lap times being in the 1m 35.0 and 35.2 bracket. Now we look forward to Valencia where the goal is still the same – a podium before the end of the year.”

Scott Redding: « I’m disappointed to have finished off the podium today, because it was there for the taking. I didn’t get the best of starts, but forced my way through on the opening lap only to be held up a little by Zarco as Espargaro disappeared off into the distance. I knew I had the measure of Marquez, so put in a pass quite early, before settling down and trying to conserve the tyres. I could see Westy was catching us, but I was already on the limit and couldn’t defend the position. I thought I could hold on to third, but then Marquez came past like he had another gear and he was gone before I could even think about putting in a pass on him. Fourth is not what I was looking for here, but at least it’s moved me closer to Lüthi and Iannone in the championship. »

Stefan Bradl: “Off course we are all happy because we did not expect such a close fight for the fourth place today after the difficult first day of practices we had here. It’s a shame that we lost the fourth place, because I was on hard tyre today and had a small advantage on my competitors, so I thought I could take it. But the other guys had other advantages on me so we were plus or minus on the same level. But on  the last lap I was stopped by Bautista and Dovi (Dovizioso) passed me. I am not the one who usually lost the battle, but I am quite happy anyway because we showed our pace once again and want to thank the team for their excellent job this weekend.”

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