MotoGP 2018: Johann Zarco Back on Track?

  • Johann Zarco’s form seemed to have dropped after his crash at Le Mans.

  • Some speculated that success had gone to his head.

  • But he had just fought back to finish 2nd fastest during the post-Czech GP tests yesterday.

Johann Zarco had a great start to the MotoGP 2018 season, when he finished 2nd twice in four races and well ahead of the factory Movistar Yamaha team.

But after the heartbreaking crash at Le Mans in front of his countrymen, his form had a taken a dip somewhat. The sudden drop in performance even prompted his Monster Yamaha Tech 3  boss, Herve Poncharal, to state that Zarco had suddenly been basking too much in the MotoGP limelight and life in the fast lane, especially after meeting his current girlfriend. Others speculated that he might have contemplated about his mortality after the crash. These riders risk their lives and limbs for the sake of our entertainment, after all.

Poncharal knew the crash at Le Mans was different to any other and Zarco had dropped down the order, finishing 10th in Italy, 7th in Catalunya, 8th in The Nederlands, 9th in Germany and 7th again in the Czech Republic races.

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“I’m happy about the race, a good race, good pace, and we were able to fight at the beginning,” said an upbeat Zarco. “The soft rear tyre was a good choice, I’m happy for that, it helped me to fight at the beginning. Maybe I could have overtaken more riders at the beginning, but it was difficult. In the race I tried to do the best I can, and in the end for sure the tyre was getting used and it became a little bit more difficult, not because of the tyres just because we’re working on the bike to find the best feeling,” said the 2-time Moto2 champion when interviewed by MotoGP.

But if the results of the just-completed post-Brno tests were anything to come by, Zarco certainly hasn’t lost his motivation and certainly not his skills. With the help of his team on the 2017-spec Yamaha YZR-M1, the Frenchman completed a punishing number of 71 laps and emerged 2nd fastest overall.

Zarco continued, “Now we are coming back on good things, from the Saturday we are quite fast, not enough to be on the podium but I understood good things this weekend so, I’m pretty happy and when everything isn’t perfect I’m taking points and that’s the main thing at the moment.”

He was honest about the dip in his performance, too, “… maybe in the last races I was racing like a guy who is going to buy the bread every morning. Now I can ride the Yamaha well and the answer is yes, I’m happy.”

A happy rider is a fast rider. The next round is at Austria this weekend, from 12th August 2018.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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