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Johann Zarco was able to cement his victory of the Motul TT Assen in the closing laps, a major factor in his overall success.
As he has done in previous rounds, Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) made his mark in the closing laps. Zarco and Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing) had battled closely for much of the restarted Moto2™ race in Assen but the last four laps perfectly demonstrate Zarco’s advantage and ability to push to the end. For most riders, their lap times will gradually decrease as the race goes on with their tyres losing grip, but Zarco improves his pace. He set a 1’37.9, a 1’38.0, a 1’37.5 and a 1’37.6 as the race ended, each of these laps was at least 0.2s quicker than Rabat’s times from the same lap, their final lap being 0.4s apart.
“I had a good fight with Tito and he was quite aggressive, so I say OK it’s a good fight! He faded towards the end but I was still strong enough to pass him. I thought it was better to overtake two laps from the end and try and push as I felt I had the speed to do this,” said Zarco. The Frenchman produced a similar performance in Mugello when chasing Rabat, all but one of the final four laps set by Zarco in Italy were faster than Rabat’s times. Most impressive from his Mugello performance was Zarco’s last lap of 1’52.685, the fourth fastest lap of the race overall.
Rabat admitted that today he was unable to best Zarco: “We then fought a lot with Johann. I tried to go away alone but I start to struggle and I can’t go faster. He caught me and today Johann was better. Anyway I’m happy to finish second and the team and I are doing a good job.”
The last laps of the Catalan GP saw the same phenomenon, Rabat leading until the final lap when Zarco struck. However, in Catalunya the fledgling Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) emulated Zarco's last lap surge to snatch second, Rins' last lap an entire second faster than Rabat’s. This weekend in Assen Rins again improved his pace at the end to get the best of both Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten). If Zarco’s current results are anything to go by, this skill will help Rins greatly as he continues to learn the Moto2™ bike in the coming races and seasons.
Third in the race, Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing) did improve by 0.3s on his last lap, but the majority of his others were consistently in the low 1’38s with little variation, a strong pace but just missing something. The Brit was unable to produce the same radical drop as Zarco and Rins: “I think we're proving that there’s not many people that can stick with these two guys, and we’re on a different bike so I think we’re doing a good job. We stalled a bit at the start but once I got past the other guys I was running the same pace as Rabat and Zarco.”
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