Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) heads to his home race in Le Mans second in the World Championship, taking P2 in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, as drama unfolded ahead of him between Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), fellow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
The Frenchman’s second podium of the season was looking unlikely at one stage, as Zarco recalls passing the incident that took place just ahead of him on track. “What I was thinking was how many bikes were down because ok you see the Repsol one and the two Ducatis, but you can’t believe that all three are down.”
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The Tech 3 rider initially did well to avoid Pedrosa’s stricken Honda, but when he’d negotiated Turn 6, Zarco knew that bringing it home without making any mistakes would give him P2 at the checkered flag. “When I saw that I thought ok, second with a big advantage with seven laps to go, I have to finish the race and stay focused. So, it wasn’t difficult but I didn’t want to make a mistake because that would have been a massive shame.”
Launching from the front row for the eighth consecutive time, Zarco managed to maintain his third position early on in the race, before Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) got past him.
“The start was quite ok, Lorenzo made an amazing start. I couldn’t overtake Dani, I was feeling good behind him but not good enough to overtake him,” admitted Zarco. “Marc overtook me, then overtook him (Pedrosa) pretty much immediately, and this is an advantage I did not have. So, it wasn’t easy, I lost some positions, did some mistakes, I was struggling a bit, but then having the 5th position and trying to catch the first group, I saw and believed it was possible. I tried to find the pace to catch them, but I got this chance and I’m happy that all this weekend I was quite competitive.”
Zarco: "When I saw the 3 riders down, I knew I was second"
Next up for the double Moto2™ World Champion and his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team is their home race in Le Mans, a track that should suit the Yamahas better. Unsurprisingly, Zarco is eager to get going on French soil.
“It’s amazing yes, also in the Championship we are second now, so much better than what we expected at the beginning of the year,” said a smiling Zarco, when asked about heading to his home race after another podium finish.
“Sure, it’s where I want to fight and I’m so happy to be there. Me and the team will have even more fans pushing us giving us positive energy. The track is normally a good track for the Yamaha, I will try to do the right things in the right moment and try to be competitive and dream up a victory.”
The 27-year-old finished second in Le Mans last year, can he go one better this year and get his and Tech 3’s maiden premier class victory?
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