When shedding light on his current rider’s working methods, Guy Coulon recognised the similarities between two of MotoGP’s more recent sensations, Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso.

Along with establishing the long-running, successful Tech 3 squad in 1989, Frenchman Coulon has worked with an array of top names since the team moved to the premier class in 2001, including Dovizioso in the Italian’s sole year with Yamaha machinery in ‘12.

Coulon played a key role in Zarco’s stunning debut season in MotoGP, a year in which the double Moto2 world champion scored two pole positions and three podiums, while regularly proving to be a thorn in the side of his factory-backed peers.

The experienced crew chief revealed his rider’s thoroughness when negotiating his way through their plans for a race weekend. Each of Coulon’s commands or plans is carried out to its fullest, a trait he experienced with Dovizioso in the past.

“He [Zarco] is very clear when he explains his bike’s feelings,” Coulon told Crash.net. “We prepare a plan before each session. It depends on the track. Mainly we decide on three runs or two runs, because some tracks with longer lap times we like better with less runs.

“We decide in advance, ‘This amount of runs.’ Then after we change bikes and try something different for the second run. He respects this plan. Even if the bike is not perfect, he keeps going to the end of run to understand if it is a comfortable problem.

“Even with this feeling which is not so perfect, he can get a lap time. If we decided for seven laps, he does seven laps. And for the run after, if we decide for five laps, he goes for fives laps.

“And in the last run, if we decide for four laps he goes for four laps. This is quite important because some riders you ask for seven laps. After two laps they come back, stop and [say] ‘I don’t like it!’ [I think] ‘You don’t like it after two laps, yes. But maybe after four laps you can understand whether your tyre life is better, or whether your lap time is coming better.’ Finally we never know.

“We had a very similar situation with Dovi in 2012. Dovi and Johann have a very similar kind of mind.”

Touching on Zarco’s sincerity when admitting to not necessarily possessing the greatest speed or level of talent in the field, Coulon explained this was a mindset his rider had possessed in Moto2. How he attempted to ‘control’ those around him was crucial when navigating his way to back-to-back championships.

“About this point, he’s a bit different,” says Coulon. “He also has very good experience with Moto2. He knew from Moto2, and he told me, ‘Sometimes I feel that other riders are faster than me but my understanding was to control them from the beginning of the race.

“’If they pass me, I’ll try and pass them back immediately. And I’ll try to control them. At the end of the race, I’ll try to push and to beat them.’

“He knows that if you cannot control faster riders at the beginning of the race, you cannot control them at the end. So you need to understand that and to manage this situation. It’s quite easy to say! And another thing to do it properly.”



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