Portimao MotoGP: Johann Zarco: Joan Mirs third in the championship “good goal” | MotoGP

Instead of protecting fourth place in the MotoGP World Championship from a tight group of riders, Johann Zarco travels to Portimao with the aim of wresting third place from Joan Mir.

Crash MotoGP Podcast – Click here to hear Keith Huewen, Harry Benjamin and our own Pete McLaren talk about MotoGP

That would mean overcoming a considerable gap of 23 points to the 2020 world champion in just two races and a maximum of 50 points.

Meanwhile, just behind him are Jack Miller, Marc Marquez (absent this weekend) and Brad Binder all within 16 points of the Pramac Ducati rider.

“Things are coming together,” said Zarco on the eve of the penultimate lap this weekend. “I think that goal of finishing third will be good. I was in a good position after the summer break but I lost it.

Related articles

“Luckily I moved up one place after Misano. Why don’t you think about the third one? [But] If I want to catch up, I have to be on the podium, otherwise it will be complicated. “

Zarco is not the only Ducati rider with a view of Mir’s place on the “podium” at the end of the year.

Related articles

“I can just focus on my own job and try to do my own thing, which is to get my 26 points back and take third place in the championship,” said Miller. “I still feel like this is a possible achievement. Not easy, but anything can happen in MotoGP these days, so we just have to stay positive and get ourselves in the right position and that’s the goal.”

Zarco, meanwhile, led the world championship after the season opener in Qatar and remained Fabio Quartararo’s closest rival from Mugello until the Austrian GP when he began a five-race slump in which he scored points in just two races.

This included COTA, his first event after an arm pump operation, but he got his best result since the summer break with fifth place in Misano, which – combined with Miller’s fall – brought Zarco back to fourth place overall.

“I have to be happy because right now it’s the best season I can do. Just learn from what I missed after the summer: that’s the thing,” said Zarco.

“I’m pretty happy from the last race at Misano. I got a lot of confidence again. The weekend in the rain was great. I was happy to see that I could improve and then in the dry, in the race I wasn’t super fast, but consistent enough to finish and get good points.

“Achieving a good result, doing great overtaking maneuvers and driving a better race than the previous one: that makes the motorcycle enjoyable and gives you confidence.

“It’s positive at the moment,” he added over the entire season. “It seems disappointing – when you look at the championship – because I missed it [chances] and lost second place in the championship, but still having a chance at third doesn’t mean a bad season. “

If Zarco can indeed finish in the top 6 this year, it would be the highest MotoGP finish ever by a Pramac Ducati rider, while a top 5 would surpass his own previous championship high while at Tech3 Yamaha in 2017 and 2018.

At the earlier race at Portimao in April, Zarco qualified in the front row but fell while fighting for a podium in the race.

Both Zarco and Mir have yet to win a race this season, with Zarco still chasing his first victory in the premier class – the Frenchman finished second four times this season alone. Rookie team-mate Jorge Martin took his and Pramac’s first Ducati MotoGP victory in Austria.