Started from ninth place on the grid following a penalty, Johann Zarco led a French Grand Prix at Le Mans while attacking and with a knife between his teeth, to manage to snatch a place in the top 5 at the finish, just behind his compatriot Fabio Quartararo.
The Pramac pilot came back to his performance with journalists, and, as usual, we transcribe here all of his remarks, the first part of which, which uses familiarity, corresponds to the questions asked by the French media.
Johann, how was your race?
” I’m quite satisfied. It wasn’t easy starting from ninth place, but I really tried to get out of the grid as best I could. But as soon as the bike started to pitch up I lost time. So the start was not good, but afterwards I was quite incisive, both to keep my place but also to overtake, even though it was not always easy to position the bike well in the turns. I am therefore satisfied with the fight that I was able to deliver at this level, and then with my race pace because I was able to make an interesting comeback. A lot of drivers made mistakes, so I was careful to stay focused, and it took me a while to pass Takaaki Nakagami. Curiously, I had a lack of acceleration in the last corner which cost me a lot of meters in the next straight. Consequently the effort that I provided in the last sector was not used to double me, and it is for this reason that I took time to pass Nakagami. This lack of acceleration, I put it down to too much wheelie and too many electronic cuts, and it was probably linked to being glued to the ass of another bike which took away the support we needed. we could benefit during the trials. It was a real difference from the trials, and it didn’t make it easy. But I still showed a good rhythm, and then I needed to breathe a little bit when I found myself behind Marc Márquez, and when I passed him I still made an effort in thinking I could catch up with the group in front of me, but they were too far away. Then there was the fall of Pecco Bagnaia and I found myself in fifth position. I said to myself that it would have been good to go up again, but reason prevailed and I preferred to take these 11 points and continue to advance. It was a good race, and a good weekend. »
Did you have a collision with Brad Binder in the first lap?
” I made a good overtaking at the first chicane: I had to let go of the brakes so I entered a little hard, and I didn’t manage to gain places because Fabio Quartararo and Nakagami managed to pass me. But later when we entered the Chapelle bend, I still had Nakagami right in front of me and I knew that he had a tendency to widen his trajectory, and so I decided to take a very tight line for the double, but Binder was inside. At the time I thought it was Jorge Martín who had touched me but no, it was Binder. Nobody fell but it was a good contact. As soon as you want to take your place or overtake other guys, it is clear that contacts occur almost during each race. »
Does your fine comeback make you regret all the more for having been penalized on the grid [Zarco, initialement qualifié en sixième position, a dû rétrograder de trois places pour avoir gêné Pol Espargaró en piste samedi] ?
” I have no regrets, for the simple and good reason that in terms of rhythm I felt that I was not yet where I want to be. There is still progress, and that’s why we must not let go, because it may take longer than expected, but there are many things that I manage to integrate . So no regrets, because if I had gone ahead, it’s true that I would probably have found it easier to stay with the others, but since I don’t yet have the click to do what I want with the motorbike always gets stuck. It’s progressing, it was a good race, but even starting further ahead I wouldn’t have been able to do as well as Enea Bastianini. »
Did you see the fall of Álex Rins [Zarco a été victime d’un tout-droit similaire à celui du pilote Suzuki vendredi, en parvenant cependant de son côté à rester sur sa machine] ?
” I saw him go out, it was at a time when I was considering overtaking, but when you see someone go out you know there are going to be yellow flags, and so you don’t try to overtake to avoid any risk of penalty. But I did see him come out, and then I saw him on the ground. Afterwards, they explained to me that in fact when he came back to the asphalt, he was at an angle with his motorcycle, and so he was knocked off the horse. fallout. »
How will you approach the next round at Mugello?
” With the same mentality as this weekend. It’s true that we may have a small advantage with the Ducati, because Michele Pirro [le pilote d’essais Ducati] has been testing recently and we will therefore have to use its feedback. I think we will also have to keep an eye on Pecco Bagnaia, because last year he was very strong there but he crashed at the start of the race. Above that he will have the bitterness of not having scored points here. To be part of these Ducati would therefore be a good thing, and if we can make a 100% Ducati podium that would be great. I remember that last year Fabio was very strong there [le pilote Yamaha s’était imposé en Toscane, un peu à la surprise générale] while on my side I had tried to block him with my power while he passed me in the turns. It had been a good race. Subsequently I struggled and I even missed the podium, I had to finish fourth or fifth. But there the bike is a bit different. We no longer have this advantage that we used to have on the straights. But at the riding level there are always things to do with this bike, and I hope to be able to do well in Mugello after a good week of training. »
What do you miss about the departures so far?
” When I manage to be consistent, I miss the first meters, and if I try to start hard on these first meters, I do not manage the clutch well. The motorcycle rears up and I tend to cut the gas. It’s easy to say that you have to go flat out at this point, and I can’t say that I’m really afraid to turn around. So I don’t know if these are ingrained reflexes, but even though I’m aware of this, when the time comes it’s not a natural gesture for me. The problem is that the level is so high that it has to be natural, otherwise you lack ease. »
Did you use the front device?
” The only place I used it was at the exit of turn 8, at the exit of Garage Vert, because then there was a real straight line followed by real braking. We tried to use it also at the exit of turn 14 at the start of the weekend, but entering the Dunlop chicane with the system activated was simply not possible. So on this circuit we only used it in one place, but basically it wasn’t such a bad thing because it forced you to take on other sensations, and that can be useful for Mugello. »
MotoGP French Grand Prix – Race results:
Classification credit: MotoGP.com
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