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Dovizioso, Rossi and Lorenzo talk Zarco

MotoGP™ front row discuss Frenchman's chances at the Moto2™ title ahead of welcoming him as a rival in 2017

22 points clear, and on pole by two seconds in a drying qualifying session: Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) faces his first chance at defending his Moto2™ crown at Sepang International Circuit on Sunday, and he’s put himself in the best position to attempt it.

In the post-qualifying Press Conference, MotoGP™’s front row qualifiers – Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo – talked about the reigning Moto2™ Champion’s chance to become the first ever Frenchman to take more than one world title in Grand Prix racing.

Andrea Dovizioso: “He has a good number of points to manage but when you arrive with only two races to the end, the pressure can become high and anything can happen. But he’s a World Champion and I think he can manage it in the right way.”

Valentino Rossi: “He has a good advantage, and it’s an important advantage with two races to go. But it’s not finished – so you have to stay focused. During the season he’s fought more with Rins, and it’s supposed to be them fighting to the end, but then Rins has made some mistakes and had a problem with his shoulder, losing points. In the last two races Luthi has arrived very fast and taken two wins in a row – so he arrives fresh for the challenge. But it’s been a good season with Johann in front for much of the season – and the advantage is quite good.”

Jorge Lorenzo: “His advantage is good, and he’s very strong in the wet so for sure if it’s wet and he gets a good start, he can feel very comfortable. I think the problem for him is that in the last few races he didn’t start very well, and in Moto2™ if you have to pass some riders you can’t ride how you want. Fighting for the world title is always complicated and I speak from experience because in 2006 I also had this problem – but he’s a World Champion already and he has his future secure, so he just needs to enjoy it, and concentrate on riding.”

If Zarco takes the title, he will become the first rider since Lorenzo in 2006 to successfully defend an intermediate class crown – ahead of a move to Monster Yamaha Tech 3 for 2017.