Forget private jets or even fast cars, Johann Zarco made a remarkable two-wheeled journey from his home in the South of France to this weekend's Aragon MotoGP round in Spain.

Joined by some of his Pramac Ducati team, Zarco took part in a 950km road trip on a 1981 Ducati 900SS!

"It was the idea of the team. They were planning it for a few months," Zarco explained. "They knew they had to start in Italy, crossing the Alps, going to Andorra, pick up Jack and go to Aragon.

"Finally Jack didn’t come because he had something to do in Aragon. But when I heard about it, I said 'I’ll join you because you’re crossing not far from my home'. And it would be nice to go with you.

"The plan was to go with the Multistrada. But they were joking saying we weren’t allowed to come with a bike over the year 2000. They were keeping this joke. I sent this photo of the old Ducati.

"They said 'if you are a man, you will come with it'. And because I am a bit stupid, I said I will!"

Describing the trip itself, Zarco said: "The 950km were all ok on the old Ducati. It was nice. The first day was 200ks to reach the first hotel and meet with the others, who were starting from Italy.

"The first night was funny because the hotel gave us their garage to put all our old bikes in. After dinner one bike already had a problem. It was a BMW, not mine. Shame on the guy that came with a BMW and got a problem! They worked until 1am to fix the problem. I went to bed a little bit earlier.

"Then the bike got the problem again the next day after maybe 200km. Because we were in France, I could fix everything and arrange enough people to take the bike so the Italian didn’t have any worry to bring the bike home.

"But the second day was a bit too long. We did 500km. 7h 30m on the bike. We left at 8.40 and arrived at 6.30. This was a bit long. But always fun. An adventure.

"Then the last 200km in Spain and we know well the road. Looks like desert but a bit too long. It looks very nice but you have very long straights. There are turns but you have to go fast to enjoy the turns. The group of 10 riders were not going fast enough to enjoy these corners in Spain. But it was good.

"It’s funny in the paddock so many guys, old mechanics, guys I didn’t speak with in ten years, are telling me, 'good job Zarco!' So this is fun. I didn’t do it for this. But I can see I touched many people, I gave pleasure to many people to have the courage to go with this old bike.

"I have to say I was worried. When I got the bike and did the first 30km to bring the bike home, I said 'when I say something, I do it' but I was worried because I thought this one was maybe a mistake!

"But after 200ks the smile came back. I was so happy to have no problems. I brought some oil with me, didn’t touch it. Maybe I didn’t touch it because I don’t know how to control the oil in it! But I could finish.

"I won’t go back. The group is going back to Barcelona and then to take the boat. If I was with the Multisrada I’d go Sunday evening straight home. With the Multistrada it’s easy. But with the old bike, I'll send it back to be picked up in France."

Having recently lost second in the world championship standings, Zarco had spoken of putting himself under too much pressure. Had the trip been something of a release?

"It can be. I was thinking that a three-day trip is a mistake because, thinking logically, you are a sportsman and you will have to push hard in the GP. It’s better to do as usual the perfect preparation for a sportsman.

"Then I thought 'you want to go, so do it'. And your body will be ok. I see my body is ok. I was just riding the bike slowly. When you are used to pushing every weekend you enjoy it so much.

"To share this with team, it’s nice. It was not all the team. But Francesco [Guidotti, team manager] was there. My chief mechanic, two of my mechanics. Many of my guys were there. Also some of the guys from Martin’s team. It was pretty nice.

"I didn’t do it to put my mind out of this pressure. But I realised the irrational way of thinking brings me good things."

Zarco - just four points adrift of reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir in the fight for best-of-the-rest behind Fabio Quartararo - finished as the top Ducati in fifth place on a 2019-spec Avintia bike at last year's second Aragon event.