Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director, has opened up on the reasons behind Johann Zarco’s failed move to KTM, stating that the Frenchman’s temperament was a factor and that the double Moto2 world champion “could not control his emotions.”

Days on from the shock announcement that KTM would be dispensing with Zarco’s services with immediate effect, Beirer addressed media at the Grand Prix of Aragon to speak of the experiences of the past ten months.

At one point the German admitted, “It was finally a release to quit in this way,” and confirmed that Zarco’s comments after the Grand Prix of Misano – a weekend in which he secured his best dry weather qualifying result – confirmed his fate.

But first and foremost it was the Frenchman’s temperament that was an issue, which ultimately inhibited his ability to provide adequate development direction. “Emotionally he was getting to hot to give a clear direction if it’s needed,” Beirer said.

“He could not control his emotions,” he said. “And I’m not talking about the thing he said that was not so nice about the bike [at Jerez, when caught on screen giving an expletive-laden assessment of the RC16’s deficiencies]. That was OK. He put so much stress on himself when things were not going easy.

“That’s what he was always looking for; that easy riding. It was not there. He went aggressive. To succeed at this level, of course you need to be emotional and powerful in the moment, but you also need to calm down and analyse the situation. There he was super hot.

“When you were out of the box with him and you talked, everything was calm and [he would say], ‘I understand, you are right, we are doing this and that.’ But then he goes riding and…

“Even last Saturday at Misano things went well, he could not see the positive. He was still complaining about the same things. I think there, yeah. Emotionally he was getting to hot to give a clear direction if it’s needed. For him it’s maybe nicer to do that on a bike which was ready for him to go.”

So were the Misano comments the final straw? “To be honest, yes,” Beirer said. “We are really happy and proud of the steps we could do in the last weeks. Then we could see it helped him as well. That Saturday at Misano for me was outstanding.

“Then what he did in Q2, he had no fresh tyres and did it with used tyres so that lap time in qualifying from Q1 to Q2, you saw the amazing part of Johann and what he can do on a motorcycle.

“Still we had an OK race weekend and you get the news on Monday that we are back to the starting point. That is when I definitely lost hope, that we could turn it around.

“If this was not enough as a positive signal that we used this as a platform to build up again, we were also kind of giving up again on Monday looking back to the weekend.”

Asked whether the move to replace Zarco with long time test rider Mika Kallio was aimed at rescuing morale on the Frenchman’s side of the garage, Beirer was clear.

“Absolutely. I’m responsible for the whole project. If you see that the thing are starting to go good but always 50 percent of the project is sad because they try hard and are always ending at the same point. There is a moment when you need to decide that you are looking forward or are we always looking back?

“It was a needed signal for the crew to stay positive and continue to work. We are not having Mika now to bring much better results, but just to work again more in a positive way and use the results of today to get better for tomorrow.”

Still Beirer was filled with regret that the move had not worked out. “I just want to underline that for us it’s definitely a sad moment to give up on a project when it was, together with Johann, to succeed in MotoGP, to get him to lift the project to another level, along with Pol [Espargaro].

“We thought the guys could push each other. But of course it’s no secret that he struggled from the first day when he put his leg over the bike in Valencia. It was a little bit of a surprise that it was immediately difficult for him and not to go on the level of Pol.

“He had to start really lower and from the first moment we had crashes when Johann started to push. In general it was finally a release to quit in this way. I just can’t underline that Johann as a person is a really nice boy, he’s a strong boy, he’s a special character. It’s sad that we could not succeed. That was our target.

“I’m definitely not happy that we could never supply to him the bike he wanted to ride. Also he could not make that step to help the bike in a moment when it’s still not at the very top. We know the reality. Let’s hope for both of us that we can bring our project forward. Our whole company wishes Johann to have a great future in this paddock.

“I really hope he will find a place, a spot to come back. It was also nice for him when we had this conversation at the beginning of the week that he came here to stop with the team in a really human, fantastic way, to go through and say bye to everybody. We could shake hands today. It’s a sad story at the end for us.”

 

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