Pramac Ducati rider Johann Zarco got his 2021 MotoGP season off to a brilliant start with second place at the Qatar Grand Prix. 

The French rider got a great launch from sixth on the grid and was second behind pole sitter Francesco Bagnaia by the end of lap one. 

Zarco spent much of the race in second, as he was behind the man he replaced at Pramac before eventual race winner Maverick Vinales came through on lap 15. 

This prompted Zarco into an overtake too as he tried to stay with the Spanish rider. However the pace from Vinales was too great and Zarco took a well deserved second place after an enthralling last lap battle. 

Zarco started the final lap in second, but was passed by defending champion Mir at turn 6. But coming into the final corner, Mir ran wide allowing Zarco and Bagnaia to outdrag the Suzuki rider to the finish line. 

Speaking after the race about what needs to be improved in order to win at next weekend’s second race at Losail, Zarco joked that he certainly does not ‘need more power’.

"I don’t need more power, I have enough. I think I need to be a bull on the last six laps or in the moment when Vinales pushes more, to have this capacity," added the two-time Moto2 champion. 

"I went faster in that moment but four tenths were missing, so we need to find these four tenths. 

"We know why we don’t get it and why it has been complicated to follow Maverick. 

"But seeing the race and how I could do it, we will try to have a better connection with the rear tyre into the corner. Then, from this it can help us to do a good step for the second half (race)."

One of the main talking points heading into the race was Ducati’s speed advantage over the likes of main rivals for victory Yamaha. 

But it seemed that the top speed was not quite as dominant as the first two days of practice and qualifying. 

Asked about this, Zarco added: "I think there was less difference for the top speed because Maverick got a pretty good slipstream.

"It was not for all the race, because he led the race, and in the moment Maverick could lead he had this strong advantage in second and third gear and almost a bit in fourth, so in second and third he was gaining on us. 

"We were catching him after but it was a bit late, so that’s why the difference was less, that's why if we can find some solution for the next race in this area, we will be even stronger with the Ducati and have again our advantage."