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Johann Zarco’s adaptation to the Reale Avintia Racing Ducati GP19 is continuing on an upward trajectory after the two-time Moto2™ World Champion finished P6 on the timesheets on Day 2 of the Official MotoGP™ Qatar Test.
Zarco missed the Valencia and Jerez Tests and the end of 2019 having only signed for Ducati in December. The Frenchman had an enjoyable first taste of Desmosedici at the Sepang Test where he finished P17 overall, just 0.602 from compatriot Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as he improved his lap time each day. On Saturday in Qatar, Zarco placed P12 ahead of fellow Ducati riders Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and teammate Tito Rabat, setting a best time of 1:55.308. On Day 2, Zarco got his time down to a 1:54.565 to end the day P6 on the times, ahead of Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.
After the Flag - Day 2 at the Qatar Test
Having said that, nothing can be taken for granted during testing as no ones quite knows how hard everyone is pushing, but it’s nevertheless impressive to see Zarco so far up the timesheets with the little testing he’s been able to do with the Ducati. Speaking at the close of Day 2, the number 5 said he’s improving every time he goes out on his GP19 machine.
“I keep learning and improving myself to find confidence. Today has been good, I was doing good work, the lap time was ok but everybody was still going pretty fast and when I saw my gap at more than one second I was feeling maybe the track was in good condition, and I can try to do better,” commented Zarco.
Qatar Test - Day 2: catch the first laps from Losail
“So we had a new tyre and the feeling of controlling the bike was ok so I was happy that we got this big improvement for sure. Not the consistency, but at least I can use the bike better and every time I’m doing better riding and better answers, and it’s giving me the motivation to do even more. Overall I’m happy about today, the position is good but tomorrow it will be necessary to do another step if possible or find this confidence to be comfortable on the bike every lap, also to prepare the race in 10 days.”
Zarco has ridden a Yamaha, KTM, Honda and now a Ducati is just over a year. So what does he like most about his current companion?
“The areas I like is the acceleration and the top speed. Every time I see myself in the top five of the top speed – 347, 348 (km/h) – and the other Ducatis more than 350, this is nice. But when you have to brake the bike has a good reaction, and I need to have more confidence in this area because it’s not easy to have huge confidence immediately.”
????????Gran trabajo del equipo. @JohannZarco1 finaliza en 6ª posición y @TitoRabat 16º. Mañana último día ????????— Reale Avintia Racing (@realeavintia) February 23, 2020
???????? Great work by the team. Johann finishes in 6th position and Tito 16th. Tomorrow is the last day???????? @MotoGP #realeavintia #avintiaracing #motogp #qatartest #ducati #losail pic.twitter.com/jQbTIjeuX7
Find out if Zarco can go even quicker on Day 3 of the Qatar Test, the final day of preseason testing before the 2020 season proper gets going in Qatar on 8th March.