Johann Zarco: I wasn’t ready at KTM, I’m ready at Honda

Johann Zarco: “I’ve stayed calm and seeing the big work by Honda gives me motivation to keep improving, to be ready when the bike is ready.”

Johann Zarco, MotoGP, Spanish MotoGP, 26 April
Johann Zarco, MotoGP, Spanish MotoGP, 26 April

A year ago, Johann Zarco arrived at his home Le Mans MotoGP round with a best finish of second place and 46 points for Pramac Ducati.

The French round then kicked off a run of three successive Sunday rostrums and, helped by a memorable Phillip Island victory, he climbed to fifth in the final standings.

Zarco returns to Le Mans this weekend with just five points to show for his efforts at LCR Honda this year, but insists - unlike during his ill-fated 2019 move to KTM - he’s ready to deal with the tough times.

“It's a nice experience to live [trying to take Honda back to the top] and, as I knew, the challenge is going to be tough,” Zarco said. “I'm ready to live it and although in the moment sometimes there is some frustration, then you understand that the work is done and you really tried the best.”

Zarco, who had to rebuild his career after leaving the factory KTM team after just half a season, added: “Five years ago when I went to KTM, I was not ready to accept having less performance and trying to develop [the bike], stay calm and analyse the potential of the rider and of the bike.

“Now with this experience, I have more confidence in myself and can analyse better what I'm doing on the bike, so that's why it's a way to re-try what I missed five years ago and get involved with this development.

“[So far] it's what I was expecting. When it's getting hard and you cannot finish the race or you cannot even follow the others, that's the worst thing as a rider feeling.

“But I’ve stayed calm and really I'm seeing the big work of Honda and that gives motivation to also keep improving myself to be ready when the bike is ready.”

Until then, a top ten would be a ‘great’ result this weekend.

“I didn't expect to have already yesterday evening and today so much support from the crowd,” Zarco said. “And this, I hope, will give a little extra.

“The realistic goal will be to get those few points around the 10th position. That will be already a great result and I will be glad to take it here to give a new push to our team, to Honda.”

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