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After qualifying on pole position for his home Grand Prix last year, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Johann Zarco heads to Le Mans this weekend for the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France in a slightly different frame of mind. However, the Frenchman is as determined as ever to give the home fans something to cheer for after telling motogp.com in an exclusive interview that he “will do everything possible to be in the top ten” this weekend.
Life with the Austrian factory hasn’t started as the double Moto2™ World Champion would have hoped, but he remains positive and confident of turning a corner on home soil: “The Grand Prix de France is above all about meeting all of the fans," he explains in a recent interview with motogp.com. “I realise, via social media, that people continue to support me, even when the results are not necessarily there.
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Time to step up
“I still try to stay positive. I keep the same goal, being in the top ten, and I will do my very best to make it happen. Admittedly, the ambitions are smaller than in previous years, but it is also because I am in a completely different situation. If I can do it, then that would be a sign of some progress, that would motivate us for future races.”
In preparation for the French GP, Zarco and his factory KTM teammate Pol Espargaro tested at Jerez on Monday’s official test but also did further laps of the Spanish track on Wednesday, as they continue their development of the RC16.
“We actually tested in Jerez on Monday and Wednesday. It's always good to get more experience and in the end, it's still the best practice. Even if we don’t have the pace yet to aim for a podium, it allows us to sharpen some things. We tried a lot. No major changes, but it's part of the game when you develop a motorcycle.”
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Les médias en parlaient déjà beaucoup, je peux maintenant vous le confirmer. Le coaching #jeanmichelbayle commence et je suis heureux de m’ouvrir à cette opportunité, nos premiers échanges sportifs me donnent une vision bien plus grande sur ma mission! À bientôt au Mans! . After all what you could read, I confirm my new coaching with Mr. #jeanmichelbayle ! Pretty happy to have this opportunity, to share our experiences, already gave to me a great vision on my mission! See you in Le Mans! @ktmfactoryracing - @redbullfrance - @motogp
Zarco now has a new man in his corner ahead of the weekend with Jean-Michel Bayle, a former motocross star and double poleman in 500cc class, officially starting as his new manager; a decision he commented on: “Since I started, I have always had a manager. At the end of last year, with Laurent Fellon, our paths separated. I tried to manage myself, but as an official rider you’re faced with a lot of things. There is also a certain amount of stress.
“With Jean-Michel, we have talked several times. He is an intelligent person and experienced in motorcycle racing. He knows what I’m going through. In other words, he can help me manage situations more easily. A new adventure begins, always with the goal that one day I’ll be champion. It will always remain my goal.”
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