While finalising his preparations for the second MotoGP test of 2018, Johann Zarco confirmed he would forge ahead with the chassis direction he chose at Sepang, and re-stated that mechanical and inter-team changes do not warrant distraction.

The double Moto2 world champion has both Tech 3 Yamaha M1s fitted with ’16-spec chassis in the garages at the Buriram circuit, and believes the good feelings with the frame he raced last year, an updated aerodynamics package and engine coupled with greater experience can push him on to greater heights. 

France’s most successful grand prix export also batted away suggestions that the enforced changes on the other side of the Tech 3 garage - due to Jonas Folger’s late withdrawal from the 2018 season - could have an effect on him.

“I made a decision to have a clear way in front of me for this season,” said Zarco, referencing the two-year old chassis he will use for the upcoming season. “I enjoyed so much last year and overall the last races, fighting for victories was so good.

“Now I want to use this potential with more experience, better aerodynamics also and also better engines, so all these things put together for me, I know where I am, I know where I am going, and that's OK.”

On Hafizh Syahrin’s call up to the team for this test, Zarco continued, “For the rider, it's not a problem. The good thing is that Jonas was so competitive and he can push you to go faster. Then at the end of the season, we had many different guys who were not used to the MotoGP bike, so for me, it's like there is no competition with the teammate.

“But it doesn't matter, because I have my things to do. The most complicated part is for the team, for the mechanics that when you cannot really have a big relationship with the rider, then for them, it's difficult to find motivation to build the bike all the time, do it again when he is crashing.

“When you have feeling with your riders, you like to do it, but now they have to do it because it's their work, not because it's their passion. So it's more difficult for the guys than for me.

“Syahrin told me, "I'm happy, I'm going to learn from you" and I said, "for sure you are a clever guy and you can feel good on the bike." We did not speak a lot. Even in Yonny in the last test, he had this MotoGP experience and me, I was focused on what I have to do.

“And now for Syahrin, it's like he's younger, he doesn't have this MotoGP experience, but for the way he's riding, maybe that's even better to discover it. The most difficult thing is to discover the bike and the track at the same time, I think.”

On his thoughts of the Buriram track, he added, “I was watching many videos of the World Superbikes, and the first feeling is that it looks like the Austrian Grand ‘Prix at Spielberg, but flat.

And finally now I did many laps with the scooter, and I also ran on the track. I like it. I think it's going to be easy to learn, but easy to learn means that all riders will be so close, and the gap between maybe the first ten or fifteen positions will be very small. So that can make the game complicated.

“Me, I like the two long straights. The straight from the start is not long, but then the second one after the first corner and the back straight are quite long. But not as long as I expected also. So it's positive for the Yamaha, that we really expected that Ducati could be so strong.

“Finally – I hope – but I see advantages for the Yamaha also because from Corner 5 to 12 it's only turning, you need to be smooth and other things, so I think this is a good point for the Yamaha to have all this corners, from corner 5 to 12. Changing direction, and always quite constant speed for all the corners. This makes me happy to see.”

His schedule over the coming three days will include, “seeing the track for the first time. I mean with the electronics we must fix so many things, so go immediately when the track opens tomorrow, to do like the first three exits just to fix the electronics, fix the power in a few corners, to have like a bike that then you can push.

“So that's the first plan, and then after, when you get a better pace, always try to stay focused and push to be on a good pace, to take good rhythm, and after that, work with the tyres.”


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