Next Sunday, April 24, 2022, Johann Zarco answered questions from journalists from the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão after the Portuguese Grand Prix.
After pole position on Friday, the French driver had a very solid race, with a very nice first corner and especially good resistance to pressure, against Joan Mir, Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaró. Only his compatriot seemed unreachable…
Johann Zarco † I’m obviously very happy because the pole position yesterday gave me a first feeling of happiness and today the race was very good. I lost some time at the start, but I could see I was feeling pretty good on the brakes, so that gave me quite a bit of confidence, and I immediately tried to regain the lost positions. So when I overtook Álex Márquez and then Jack Miller, I think that was the most important moment of the race for me, because then third, I felt good behind Joan Mir, but not enough to think about overtaking Fabio. He was too strong, so it was better to stay behind Joan Mir and keep my concentration behind him. When Jack Miller came back I was glad I made the decision to get second because I knew they had collided so maybe I avoided a big crash that way. I was also a bit scared at the end, with Aleix Espargaró, because he’s having a good time in his career and I know he can be strong at the end. I was able to save enough energy to give an extra push on the last lap, and that was enough to take the 20 points† †
Do you think the European circuits are another phase of the championship and what do you expect in Jerez?
† Sorry, because we are very impressed with the autumn (in Moto2). I really hope no one gets hurt. It seems that way and that’s the main thing.
I would say I disagree. I understand when you think of Europe as a fresh start to see who is strong and who has more problems in the races. But this season there are too many riders ready for the podium: even me this weekend, in these conditions, I couldn’t expect a solid race like this. So I’m one of those guys who hopes to win and has a chance to win, or of course to be on the podium, and that makes the championship really tough for everyone. But here is Fabio the one who really showed that he has the rhythm and regained his lead! And he did it perfectly, but it’s not really like the start of Europe, it’s just because we’re here in Portimão, where he had a fantastic run last year, and he was able to do it again now. Personally, I take the positive and try to keep improving this feeling because the Ducati works well but sometimes has to face it all. So if we, and I say us because we are eight riders and all count towards Ducati, when we use the potential well, I think we can put more Ducati in the lead† †
This is the second time we have witnessed a French doppelganger. What do you feel ?
† Sharing the podium with Fabio, and especially when it comes to a win and a second French place, is very, very good! Like I said, I’m happy to hear the French national anthem, but it’s always Fabio who plays this French national anthem and I’m just here to sing it (laughs). But it’s better than nothing and it’s a very good moment because as I said last year, we have ten years difference from Fabio, so to see a Frenchman win… I have to go back a notch, to get to to look at my own situation and to be happy for our country that does not have many boys in front like in Spain. If it’s a French win, we have to appreciate that, and if I come second, I’ll be even happier. If he wins and I might be 5th or 10th I’m happy for him but very sad for me but like today I can’t be sad also because just thinking about this day he was incredible thanks to his pace, right from the first round. Sometimes we have to accept that someone says “it’s mine!” † †
You do this twice on election day in France. Are you going to ask the future president for a bonus to represent France in this way?
† As for politics, I think it’s better not to talk about it. We will just follow this like everyone else. †
Looking at data from other Ducati riders, where do you need to improve to be a better rider this year?
† I try to improve the braking because that is Ducati’s strong point, and last year Pecco used it very, very well. And I’m making progress in that area, which is good. But as you can see it depends on the circuits: sometimes it’s another driver who gets the advantage and when you analyze the data it’s almost nothing. But next to nothing for 15 turns, that’s a lot at the end of the lap, is even more at the end of the race. But hey, try to use the bike’s strong point well, and if you understand it, the results can come. †
Results of the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Autodrome in Portimão: