UPDATE: The FIM Stewards decision regarding last Sunday's accident involving Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco will be published tomorrow (Friday).

To say it's been a difficult week for Johann Zarco would be an understatement.

Battered, bruised and needing an operation on a fractured bone in his right wrist, the Frenchman has also faced an onslaught of criticism following the huge accident with Franco Morbidelli in last Sunday's Austrian MotoGP.

MotoGP medical rules regarding anaesthetic mean Zarco will have to miss Friday practice for this weekend's second Red Bull Ring round and aim for a comeback on Saturday.

But he was still at the circuit on Thursday, attending an FIM Stewards meeting to investigate Sunday's accident, which saw Zarco and Morbidelli tangle at 300km/h with their out-of-control bikes then narrowly missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

"We had the meeting with the Stewards, where I could really explain how I experienced the accident and what I did to overtake Morbidelli before," said Zarco. "I explained everything well and we even had good proof with the data. They were waiting for the comments of Franco and then they will say a judgement.

"From my opinion there should not be any penalties because I didn't do anything crazy. I explained everything correctly and I hope they understood it, because they were not really answering, but let's see what the decision is. I can't tell you anymore than that."

Morbidelli apologised for labelling Zarco as a 'half-assassin' in the heat of the moment following the accident, but - after viewing 'nasty' new images during his meeting with the Stewards - still feels the Frenchman made a big mistake.

"It remains the fact that Johann made a mistake," Morbidelli said. "It remains the fact that Johann’s mistake or Johann’s action could have ended way worse than how it ended. It is still a mistake. I don’t know his feelings. I’m not in his head. I can’t judge what’s going through his mind. I can just judge his actions."

While Morbidelli and Rossi led the initial criticism of Zarco, it spread rapidly across social media.

"I knew that many critics were on me during this week, but I was also very busy organising the wrist operation and did not spend my time on social media because I could not really speak against all these critics," Zarco said.

"It's easy to put all the anger on one person that doesn't have at the moment all the power, because I'm coming from a difficult season, building up my confidence after all the life and racing problems I had in one year.

"It's not easy to go again to the top of the mountain. So that's why it's easier to find one person to put all the bad energy on.

"[After the accident] it was hard to stand up. I had to breath to see if everything was okay, then I went to see Franco and my first sentence was 'where do you have the pain?' To see if maybe I can help him or say something to the marshal.

"So I'm suffering, but I'm standing and just trying to help your friend that is racing with you. But people don't see it like this. That's why I say sometimes I am too nice. That in that moment I should already attack, thinking he will attack me. But I cannot think in this way.

"Mostly the riders that say I did something wrong, the first were Franco and Valentino, I went straight to speak with them and for me this was important. Maybe I'm naïve and should not do it in this way, but at least for me this was clear.

"On the track we never really try to have these kind of accidents. That's why also this idea that I could brake in front of Franco was crazy because it was also then a problem for me.

"We just try to manage these bikes as well as possible but we have accidents sometimes, because we wouldn't do this job if we wanted no risk."

Turning to his wrist operation, to fix a fractured scaphoid bone, Zarco said he travelled to Modena on Tuesday afternoon but couldn't have the surgery until Wednesday afternoon, when the results of a Covid test had been received.

"I just had [local] anaesthetic on the right arm, but because I was really calm I feel asleep so it was almost like a total anaesthetic," he said.

"After anaesthetic you need to wait 48 hours, then you can have the medical check. That's why tomorrow at 4pm I will do the check and see if I'm fit for Saturday. I hope so. Because clearly now 24 hours after I feel it's getting better, but not ready to ride. So I really hope that 24 hours more will be a better feeling. Clearly not perfect but enough to go on the bike and do laps and be fit. Then I will take care a lot of this wrist during the next two weeks.

"To miss the practice tomorrow is not a big drama because we had all the references from last week, so it's an advantage to be on the same circuit, and Ducati are going fast here. So with the references and I was having a good pace, if I'm feeling good I can be also good in the classification on Saturday and Sunday, if I can ride. So no big drama to miss Friday."

 

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