Moto2 star Johann Zarco believes he needs to focus solely on riding and less on the technical aspect of racing in order to turn his fortunes around in the second half of 2014 after an inconsistent start.
Zarco entered into his third year in the intermediate category with the Air Asia Caterham team, themselves new to the series, with reigning AMA Superbike Champion Josh Herrin as his team-mate.
Mid-way through the season he sits tenth in the championship with a single podium finish, achieved at Catalunya, to his name.
Speaking exclusively to Crash.net
on the Thursday ahead of the Indianapolis weekend, Zarco spoke of how he used the three-week break in proceedings to reconsider his approach.
“With my coach and manager Laurent [Fellon] we said that we need to do a 'reset' to find again the feeling to be a fast rider… I work on the bike to be a better rider and to not think too much technical[ly].That was my problem in the last races.”
“It looks this year like we can fight for the podium and we would like to fight for the podium every race. I only did it twice which is not enough. I'm disappointed and we are not where we would like to be.”
The year got off to a disastrous start as both Zarco and Herrin fell in a first lap collision at Qatar and the Frenchman was again out of the points in Texas and Argentina, despite qualifying on the front row.
It was after an unexpected slow start that left the Frenchman lacking confidence and looking in the wrong places to recapture his form. “...maybe I have some doubts and less confidence, I try to think too much about the bike during some GPs, for example in Le Mans and Mugello.”
But a debut podium for the team at Montmelo was a welcome respite and the 24-year old has built on that solid showing, putting in more eye catching performances at Assen and the Sachsenring, the latter for the wrong reasons.
“Assen was a race that I could have won but finally I didn´t do [it] because I have so many almost crashes. To finish fourth was a good result. Then again at the Sachsenring I was not so far from the podium but in the race I couldn't fight, was on the limit and then crashed… and the bike caught fire so it was not a very nice weekend in Germany.”
Although the previous grand prix didn't bring any points some improvements with the Suter chassis arrived to bring the bike up to a level where Zarco believes regular podiums should follow.
“We did a step with the chassis at the Sachsenring. I get a thought that it´s possible to win with it. We will see now at Indianapolis and the rest of the season. I think now we don´t have weak points.”
The championship has resumed at Indianapolis this weekend, a track at which Zarco has yet to score a podium in his five year grand prix career. He finished a lowly 20th overall on Friday as he adapted to the new circuit layout but he believes motocross training he conducted over the summer break will pay dividends in the USA.
“I've never been on the podium here, even in my good year in 2011 because I've never been very good on this track. It is sliding a lot, tyres drop down also and I was always not relaxed enough to catch the podium. I hoped this summer I could welcome it, to stay relaxed when it [the bike] is sliding and we will see if it works well this weekend or not.”
to read the full interview - including Zarco's views on the French motorcycle federation, making it in grand prix and his unique helmet design...