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Zarco Q&A: “This year's goal is the title”

Zarco Q&A: “This year's goal is the title”

Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco speaks to after his win at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la República.

Zarco currently leads the Moto2™ World Championship by 6 points after his win in Argentina:

Johann, what effect did your first win in Moto2 ™ have on you?

"It was a lot of fun, and it was made even better by the fact I now lead the Championship and I collected 25 points. It was really good to take the lead of the Championship in this way. I was so close to winning in Qatar, I felt I could do it. In Austin I had to settle for second because Sam (Lowes) was in great shape, but even there I worked well with the team. They knew that I could feel better on the bike and it would allow me to win. This is exactly what happened in Argentina and there are a lot of positives to take into account, through which we will try to win more victories in the next Grand Prix.”

You had pretty much a perfect race, making a break at the front early on and maintaining your lead until the finish. Did you plan this?

“Yes, it was the strategy that I developed and when I was behind (Xavier) Simeon, who was leading the race at least for the first two laps, I saw that I was faster than him. When I passed, I had taken my bearings and it allowed me to widen the gap. There was a difficult phase during the race, where the gap was about a second and a half, during which I was not able to extend the lead. My tyres were losing grip and I was afraid of making a mistake but eventually three or four laps from the end, the rider who was behind me strop pushing because he too began to slide, and it allowed me to create a three-second gap at the front.”

You now lead  the Moto2 ™ World Championship for the first time,  three races into the season. What is your perspective on your situation?

"It's a good thing. This year's goal is the title. So it is good to be leading the Championship. We had seen that it was possible from the preseason tests, if I could use my experience and the experience of the team, who have fought for many titles in the past. Our goal is to win the title, so its great to be in this position now. But also it does not change my mind for the next Grand Prix. If I finish 2nd, 3rd or maybe even eighth as in Qatar, I won’t panic and we will try to give the best in every race.”

What has changed for you this season, that has seen you now consistently battling for the win?

“Experience. Since 2009 it is the experience that allows me to move forward with training and also the method to understand what I do on the track. We've made a step between 2014 and 2015 thanks to the bike as well, with this one it's easier to concentrate on riding. Being less stressed on the bike, I'm more attentive to tips from my riding coach Laurent watching me from the side of the track, or the team when they change a setting. I'm much more open to accept the changes, and try and give my opinion. This gives me more control and allows me to be much more relaxed in my riding.”

Who do you see as the most formidable opponents for the rest of the season?

“Never underestimate Rabat, everyone saw the pace he had last year. The surprises are Rins and Sam Lowes, with Lowes being the only one that's not on Kalex. They said we could not win without Kalex but Sam is on a Speed ​​Up and he won. So respect to him. Look at how he attacks and his pace at the test in Jerez, he may be battling for the win there and for the next Grand Prix and probably for many others.  I also have to watch out for Rins - maybe more than others because of his progression - and it seems he will keep progressing and do even more, and he could become tough to beat. So I also have to improve so I can maintain the advantage I have now.”

Next week you will be at Jerez for the next Grand Prix, how will you approach it?

“I will do the job on Friday, and will be feeling good on the bike and will aim to have fun on the track. After practice and qualifying, which I hope I will do well in, whether in the dry or in the rain, I will hopefully be battling amongst the leaders, and then I will analyse the situation  because it is never good to have a plan in your head before you start racing. We must learn to make the right decisions at the right times and I will need to stay calm and use my experience to allow me to have a good race.”

After finishing on the podium on seven previous occasions since moving up to the Moto2™ class at the start of 2012, Johann Zarco finally got to stand on the top step at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. This gives Zarco a number of new records and milestones:

  • Zarco’s win in Argentina is his second GP victory, his other was in the 125cc class at Motegi in 2011. He is the first French rider to win races in both the lightweight-class (Moto3™/125cc) and the intermediate-class (Moto2™/250cc) of grand prix racing.
  • He is only the second French rider to win a grand prix in the Moto2™ class, along with Jules Cluzel, who won at Silverstone in 2010.
  • Zarco leads the championship standings for the first time in his grand prix career.
  • He is the first French rider to top the intermediate-class championship standings since Randy de Puniet led the 250cc standings following the Dutch TT in 2004.


Moto2, 2015, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport

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