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By Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Zarco: "I thought something could happen - something did"

French rookie takes a stunning debut podium at home as lightning strikes Le Mans in the lead

A front row start became a stellar start for Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in his home race at Le Mans, as the superstar rookie lit it up off the line to take the lead. Holding firm despite his soft-soft tyre combination, the Frenchman kept it calm and collected in front of the home fans to keep Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) at bay for some time. Once passed, the Tech 3 rider then followed the leader to stay in victory contention until passed by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).

Unable to stay with the 'Doctor''s superior corner speed, Zarco had then 'settled' for third and a debut rostrum, before the drama up ahead saw him cross the line for his first podium one ahead of that in P2.

360 race: Relive the #FrenchGP with Zarco

Johann Zarco, P2: “First of all, good job to Maverick taking win 500, it’s so good for Yamaha. And for me, leading the race was nice. From the first race of the season I felt good in the first corners so starting from the front row here I took the opportunity. When I was leading I had a quick flash from Qatar and I said ‘hey, don’t make a mistake!’ but the conditons were better than there. When Maverick overtook me it was great because I saw he was so fast - but I was able to stay with him. I think that was a key for the podium – I was able to go away with him. I was happy with third but then when Valentino was fighting with Maverick I thought ‘here is a tight circuit, something could happen’ – and something did.”

Zarco: "The fans brought me to the top"