MotoGP Assen J0 Debriefing Johann Zarco: “I hope to have a second wind in the second half of the season”, etc.

This Thursday, June 23, 2022, Joan Zarco answered questions from TT Circuit Assen reporters before the Dutch Grand Prix.

Finishing 2nd in Germany, the French rider took 3rd place in the MotoGP World Championship in a summer test.

As alwayswe report here the words of Joan Zarco without any format, even if it is partially translated (you in English, you in French).

How do you see the first 10 races of the season?
Joan Zarco: I’m happy with how this first half has gone for me, because I didn’t start as well as I started season 21 with two consecutive podiums in Qatar last year. But I try to concentrate on every weekend, to give as much energy as I can, and I try to control this Ducati bike well. The 2022 bike is sometimes a little harder to fix, so the races sometimes get a little harder, but the results came in the last few races and that’s just why I’m so happy. »

Were you impressed by the speed and consistency of Quartararo?
What impresses Fabio, apart from the simple technical side of driving, is his ability to bear the weight of being world champion and having to go for the second title. You have a lot of pressure, just yourself, you put more pressure on yourself because you know you can win, so you want to win again, and then everyone is asking for you and waiting for you to win. And now he does, so it’s very impressive to have that maturity to control the championship the way he does. In addition, I could see very well in Catalonia, and even more so in the Sachsenring, the pace I had in difficult conditions, when it was very hot and all the riders were struggling with the tire: it has a speed that you can follow at first, then there’s a point where you have to slow down because you can’t keep up that pace. And it seems easy to him! What it does is the beauty of this period, which all pilots want, but not all can. »

How do you feel about completing this 5-4-3-2 streak -… results this weekend?
It’s easier said than done, but why not? It would be great to follow that logic. I think the bad weather we may have this weekend can help me save energy physically. With rain tires I enjoy cycling even more because you need less strength to get the bike around the curve, so for me complicated conditions can be great, to follow that logic. We will see. Also, if we know it will rain during the FP2 and FP3 sessions, it will be a kind of strategy to push from FP1 to be already qualified for Q2. In the end, the weekend remains the same: going straight to Q2 to prepare well for the classification, and then being in the front row, because every time you start in the front row it gives you more chances to get on the podium. So we’ll see how it goes. Also with this new fairing on the Ducati, where there is a quick chicanery, I think the fairing can help compared to last year. And if we only have that better feeling, I can be competitive. »

Does the wet Mandalika podium give you confidence if the weather is wet on Sunday?
Yes. Mandalika was a special race: big, big rain, but so hot. If it rains this weekend it will be pretty cold, so it’s another story with the tires and the feel on the track. But, we had the biggest rain session in Portugal and I felt good. I like these conditions and the way they allow me to feel good on the bike, without using body strength, and for that I appreciate them almost more. »

Are you about to re-sign or have you given your consent? Are you excited to continue with Ducati after mutual faith in 2020?
“We have a very good relationship, first of all because I am the only one who talks to them, without any manager, as I have my own history and I am old enough to talk directly to them. They know how I think, they know that the chance to stay with Ducati is the best for me to get results and go to victory. And having a factory Ducati on the Pramac team is already a very good thing for me, so continuing with Ducati, even if it’s not signed, is just words but it’s almost 100% safe. It would be a bad surprise not to have a contract. Back then, I think they know pretty much all the riders who will be with Ducati, but they’re still not 100% sure who to put it on. Jokingly, I told Ciabatti and Dall’Igna that if they hesitated between an Italian and a Spaniard, they could aim in the middle and catch the Frenchman (laughs). It’s as if they agree but have a lot to consider. Knowing that I feel great at Pramac, and there are also relationships with Campinoti: when a satellite team with a factory bike has good results like us, it’s very good for a satellite team. They have their own sponsors and can get more support from their sponsors if they have a good rider. Sometimes, when the good pilot goes to the factory team, he has to rebuild something with another. From this point of view, it can be good to stay with Pramac, and on the other hand, the prestige of the factory team, if I win races and am aspiring to the title, it would be even better to be there. the factory equipment. But we never know. »

Fans sometimes ask for a modification of the program, with a sprint race for the classification, or the points given in the classification. What do you think?
“The sprint race is a great show, but MotoGP is so intense right now that I don’t see myself running on Saturday and getting ready for Sunday. Maybe a Superpole could be a nice show to watch, because it’s pure speed for a lap, with no one helping or following anyone. It could be an idea for MotoGP, better than a speed race in my opinion. So, our way of competing is quite interesting: compared to F1, we have a 40-minute race instead of an hour and a half, and that makes people a little more awake in front of the TV, and that’s very important. But maybe even if we had a shorter run, 30 minutes, why not? It depends on the weekends because after 40 minutes at the Sachsenring there were already quite large spaces between the drivers and this can be annoying for people watching TV. But for an athlete who gives his best energy to the race, it is very interesting because you can work well during training, try your best to be as fast as possible, but then the race is another story. And when you put it all together, being fast enough to be ahead with Fabio and being able to work for the race is the perfect combination. If you understand that you have to build the race weekend this way, it gets interesting, but if it’s just to show off, it’s clear that some things can move. »

The audience returns to Assen. Can you see him while driving and what does he do to you?
“I was able to see the stand as I walked this afternoon. Almost the prettiest part of the circuit is turn 15 and then the last chicane. Honestly, when I walk into the last chicane I don’t take the time to look at the spectators, but here in Assen from the power while pedaling that there were already full campsites quite far from the circuit: 10 km from here there are already many campsites with people.This means it will be full, and here in Assen, even more “The grandstand, there are the little grassy hills that go from green to black when people come in. It changes the view, especially from Saturday to Sunday because there are more people on Sunday, and that changes the view.”

Do you feel less pressure than before, especially last year when you are again the best-placed Ducati rider?
“No, there is no bad pressure because the weekends are very intense and I am very focused on performing every day, and as long as I do a good performance, I get good results. And like I said, since I feel really good with the Pramac team, everyone knows that the factory team is one step closer to some kind of dream, and they know my position very well, so I don’t have pressure. I said that earlier this year, I hope the results are good enough to continue together and that they take me into account, and I can say that they are doing very well, so I have no negative feelings. or thoughts with everything you can see. »

Do you think that now with its new fairing, the GP22 is at its highest level?
“The GP 22 is at an impressive level when you see the lap times we can make in the standings, and the way Pecco drives it is really amazing. I think it’s really the best performance you can see of the bike and a rider, of the combination of everything. But maybe, as I say sometimes, it’s a little sensitive at times. This sensitivity may be the reason for Pecco’s downfall: he can go very fast but if not everything is really perfect, you may have some sort of surprise. And sometimes that surprise costs a lot because Pecco completely lost the race at the time. Maybe that’s why I’m not relaxed enough to avoid this kind of surprise. But when you want to avoid it, you lose speed. It really is a difficult balance. »

Why were you so tired after the race at Sachsenring?
“Maybe because we are 10 years apart (with Fabio) (laughs). No, it’s my style right now to shoot like that. I would like to be more relaxed to enjoy the race more, but for the times the results come like this. If I loosen up a little too much, I no longer have the speed, and the goal is to have it, even with a little or a lot of pain. Then you have time to recover. It’s hard to manage, but I try to train as best I can and always be prepared. Maybe, I hope, I’ll have a second wind in the second half of the season after a good five-week break managing my fitness well. Let’s see, I can’t predict anything.
At Sachsenring I think, like the other drivers, we couldn’t see it too much during the race, but the heat shattered us more than it looked. It was very hot, it was windy, and if you don’t do anything, you say “okay, it’s hot”. But when the race was over, the time to recover well was a sign that it was probably too hot. »

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