Johann Zarco and Reale Avintia confirmed that the French rider will be on a Ducati in 2020, on Monday. Speaking via telephone to motogp.com, the two-time Moto2™ World Champion gives insight to the decision.
Firstly, after the crash in Valencia, how is your ankle?
“It’s getting better! It’s been healing now for 20 days and I’m able to walk without limping and ride a bike… I can’t run yet, but let’s say it’s all going in the right direction”.
On Monday it was made official that you will be riding with Reale Avintia Racing team. How did it all come about? You told Moto Journal that you were speaking with Luigi Dall’Igna, how did he convince you to take the leap?
“Firstly, I would like to say that the news should have been announced before the magazine came out. Anyway, I am very happy with the reception to this announcement […] When I decided to leave the KTM project in August, I had no Plan B. Then they let me go for the benefit of Kallio… in the end, it was a bad thing for a positive outcome, since in the wake, the opportunity came along for me to ride the Honda. I could see that Jorge was no longer in sync, so even though I didn’t know what his future was going to be, I set out to play this card. Of course, when he called that press conference in Valencia to announce that he was retiring, I thought it looked pretty good. But during the weekend, the winds changed and a lot of things were turned upside down. Besides, it was a weird Sunday, because I already knew that I had very little chance. Finally, Ducati called me on Monday saying ‘we need to talk’. We had several meetings during which they explained to me what they would make available to me and they were able to convince me. It gave me a boost of confidence! They told me that the Avintia team was going to completely change their status. And then, for my part, I was going to have the opportunity to try to compete once more for the Top 7 or 10, to stay with Ducati then deserve and even better bike in the near future, with podiums perhaps being the icing on the cake”.
So what are you goals for next season?
“Yes, they should be better… after a still very difficult year. A return to the Top 7 or 10 at all races would be good. For now, it is better to set more reasonable goals, then aim for podiums or victories”.
Yamaha, KTM, Honda and now Ducati: it will be the fourth bike you ride in as many years, how do you expect to adapt to the Desmosedici?
“These three races on the Honda have really taken away some doubts, which could be because of the lack of results. Having had good feelings and them being satisfied with my approach, it encourages me to believe that everything will be okay. I know it’s a good bike. It is precisely this stability, both in the work and in the technique, that will allow me to focus more on riding and find feelings of the top riders.”
Johann Zarco will try out his new machine – the GP19 – at the upcoming Sepang Test on the 7th, 8th and 9th of February.