Johann Zarco started the season well with the Ducati Pramac colors, with the satisfaction of getting to the second step of the podium at Losail, only beaten by a Maverick Vinales in a state of absolute grace. The Frenchman perfectly recognized the potential of his Ducati GP and was able to prevail against Bagnaia and Joan Mir at the end of the race. Gigi Dall’Igna did the right thing at the end of 2019 not to let him leave the MotoGP paddock to return to Moto2.
After his first season on the Ducati in the Avintia team, Johann has one of the best chances of his career this year, also to permanently erase the bad 2019 he experienced on the KTM. In the press conference before the second GP of the 2021 season, Zarco spoke of his satisfaction with the podium and, above all, his full confidence that he could fight at the top every Sunday with this Ducati. The Frenchman was quick enough to Remember the days of his legendary backflip that celebrated a victory at the end of the race.
Zarco: “I have to try my new leathers, but I think I can still do the backflip”
“I can’t wait to do my backflip again – said a smiling Zarco – every now and then I try the gym and I still can. I have yet to try the new leathers but I think if I have to, I will have the strength! In 2017 I had less experience. Now I think I have everything it takes to have a great season. On Sunday evening, Dall’Igna told me, “in the end it was good for you to stay in MotoGP at the end of 2019” and it’s true because I was really close to getting back into Moto2. Then I started talking to Avintia and Gigi urged me to trust him because something good was coming. He was right because if I had started Moto2 in 2020, I would not have been on the podium in MotoGP on Sunday. “
What do you think is the key to winning Sunday?
“As Maverick Vinales said, tire wear is the main problem. Following Maverick in the race helped me a lot to stay at the front until the end. In the end I overtook me, but at least I had the opportunity to overtake him and Complete second. I think Pecco doesn’t want to lose the race this time and I know that he will improve his work on the tires. We’ll all work to avoid problems in the second part of the race, but we have to be quick to the end. This time we want to fight for victory and not just for the podium, we have to have good pace without putting too much strain on the Michelins. “
Losail seemed like a guaranteed victory for Ducati on paper. If you didn’t win on Sunday, would you worry?
“I’m not worried if we don’t win here. We are competitive and I think we can fight for the podium on any track. Having two bikes on the podium on Sunday is a big sign of our potential. Our goal is to win and I think we have the chance, but we have to work to reach our potential.
For the first time in years, two French are at the top of MotoGP. What impact does it have on the fact that you are fighting for the first positions with Fabio?
“It’s nice that both Fabio and I are at the front, I want to fight for important results with him soon. He won a couple of races last year, I still haven’t done it, but this year I think I have the potential. We’re not on the same bike or on the same team so there isn’t a lot of strategy between us. If we have to fight for victory we will and I know we will do it smartly. I think it’s nice for the French fans that two drivers are fighting for the top positions. “
Bagnaia: “If I had walked more slowly at the beginning, Vinales would have passed us earlier”
Also present at the conference was Pecco Bagnaia, who finished the race in Losail in third place after dictating the pace for most of the Grand Prix. The Italian knows he has a chance to climb the last two steps of the podium on Sunday and last weekend’s GP has undoubtedly shown him where he can improve.
“I think I was perfect on the first corner and I’ll try to do the same again. Certainly the key will be to treat the tires better. BBut I think that on Sunday, if I had a slower pace at the beginning, maybe the Yamaha riders. and the Suzuki would have overtaken us beforehand and then set its own pace. The wind was also fundamental in the race and will also play a role on Sunday. We worked a lot on the data and now we know how to change the setup. Then, after Yamaha and Suzuki, we did a lot to understand where we have room for maneuver. Never say never when it comes to MotoGP the second races last year were often very different from the first on the same track. The pace could be very different this week but we’ll try to stay up front again. “
Bagnaia: “We can get on the podium on any track, that’s the key to the season”
Did Yamaha and Suzuki surprise you? Losail seemed to be your ideal hunting ground …
“The first race showed us that Yamaha and Suzuki were very competitive. We were more competitive in the first part of the race, then they recovered. We lacked consistency compared to them. I won’t worry about not being able to win on Sunday. We know we can, we just have to work better. In 2020 the Ducati was competitive on all routes. Sometimes Jack and I were quick, sometimes Zarco was quick. We know the package is very competitive and that We can finish on the podium at any track and that will be the key to this season. “
If you had to choose the tracks for your test driver Michele Pirro, what would they be?
“I would have Pirro races in Portimao and Aragon because these are tracks that I suffered on. The test driver’s data could also help on a race weekend. When he drives with us, his data is very important to us. Also because collecting information during a race weekend is completely different from collecting it on a test day. “