Johann Zarco says as ‘sportsmen we totally understood each other’ after apologising to Marc Marquez following their collision during the Australian MotoGP which took both riders out of the race.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider felt fortune to walk away from his 200mph clash with the reigning MotoGP world champion when he ran into the rear wheel at the end of the home straight on lap six.

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Zarco was thrown from his bike but avoided any broken bones or serious injuries, while Marquez was forced to retire due to heavy damage to the rear fairing, exhaust and seat unit of his Repsol Honda.

Both riders have called the clash a racing incident, with race direction also opting not to take action, and Zarco apologised for the clash which he feels was triggered by the slipstreaming effect before Marquez came back on to the racing line to brake for Turn 1.

“I went to him to say sorry because I totally destroyed the back of his bike and he told to me the most important thing was that I didn’t injure myself,” Zarco said. “As two racers and sportsmen we totally understood each other.

“It was an accident as we are going so fast and there was not a lot of space on the left side. He was close to Jack and he came back on to the racing line at corner one but I was also there. So I crashed.”

Zarco felt equally relieved neither he or Marquez were injured in the accident and the only lasting pain was caused by the fact he lost the opportunity to fight for the podium or a potential race win.

“You just say ‘oh shit’,” Zarco answered when asked what went through his mind during the crash. “You have this moment that you crash and you also realise in this moment you are losing the race. Many things go through the mind but also I think the main thing is to survive and keep yourself well and cross your fingers.”

Reflecting on the outcome of his first DNF since crashing out of his home race at Le Mans in May, Zarco lamented the missed opportunity in the battle for the top spot in the MotoGP Independent riders’ fight.

Cal Crutchlow remains the best-placed Independent rider for LCR Honda despite missing the Phillip Island race through injury, while Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci moved ahead of Zarco by finishing 12th place in Australia.

“I am feeling so sad that I didn’t finish the race and didn’t get more points than Danilo or Crutchlow even though he was not racing,” he said. “But on the other side if I think about the opportunity to have a podium or even maybe a victory because I’m so happy Maverick won the race as he did a nice job but I think I was not far from this good job also.

“Thinking about that opportunity, that victory or podium opportunity, I feel I could have played my race like that. I had my opportunity to take and that is why I was pushing a lot at the beginning to not lose the opportunity.”

Zarco falls to seventh in the overall MotoGP riders’ championship, level on points with Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone, four points behind Petrucci and 15 points behind Crutchlow.

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