Zarco admits he thought first MotoGP win ‘is not going to happen’

The double Moto2 world champion made his MotoGP debut in 2017 and has come close on several occasions to his first victory, but always came up short.

Going without a win in his racing career since the 2016 Moto2 Valencia GP, Zarco snatched a maiden MotoGP class victory on the last lap of a thrilling Australian GP on Saturday from Pramac team-mate Jorge Martin.

Asked if he’d ever lost hope of taking that first win, Zarco said: “Just to ride the bike, you have to put in an incredible amount of energy.

“But sometimes you say to yourself, ‘OK, maybe you just have to accept that it’s not going to happen’.

“But you also take on the mentality of a competitor by saying to yourself ‘in any case, do your job to the full and it’s so tight that at some point, if you concentrate in the present, maybe you can catch the thing at the right moment’.

“Clearly, that’s what happened today, so I’m very happy that in the end the long race was today.

“I said yesterday that as I had attacked well and I had the speed here, maybe that could prevent the others from finding the speed on the podium. It worked out pretty well.”

Zarco says he considered following his team-mate Martin in selecting the soft rear tyre having felt bad on the medium on Saturday morning in practice, but was forced away from this having found a big drop with the softer compound on his time attack laps.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

The Frenchman’s tyre-saving riding style on the medium ultimately played in his favour in Australia.

But he concedes that the riding style required now in MotoGP to be fast is not “natural” to him still, and this has contributed to his struggles to break his victory duck.

“It’s hard to say [what has worked] against me, but I always say this riding style [I have] I can sometimes get an advantage,” he added.

“I could use it better in the past. Now the tyres improve a lot and the bikes also, and it seems the riding is a bit different that you have to have an amazing confidence in the front and lean the bike in the entry of the corner in a way that’s hard to believe is possible.

“And this is not very natural for me. So, when I try to do it I don’t really do it relaxed enough, and in a long race becomes difficult because if you are not relaxed at this level you get tired and you can’t fight.

“So, maybe it’s about the style. You try to change it but to reach a high level you have to change it but then you have to do it naturally.

“This is taking a lot of time. It’s still not 100% but here it worked well enough to get the victory.”

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Zarco also noted that winning at Phillip Island added some sweetness to his maiden victory.

“Yes, possibly yes, because as I said before everyone loves Phillip Island,” he said when asked if his first win coming in Australia made it better in some way.

“So, if you can win there you feel you are part of ‘the big one’. We could do it overall in 2017, it was huge [group battle], and this one was different because Jorge went away and could do this race alone.

“Finally in the end he was there and we had these overtakes in this big group to finish. It’s anyway amazing to win, but with a little plus.”

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