Jo­hann Zarco re­veals all to MCN

Yamaha su­per-rookie Jo­hann Zarco is mak­ing waves in Mo­togp but he’s fight­ing big bat­tles away a from the track, too

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP REPORTER

For ev­ery Mar­quez, who won his sec­ond ever Mo­togp race or Lorenzo who claimed pole first time out, there are world cham­pi­ons like Tito Ra­bat or Pol Es­par­garó who’ve stepped up but failed to make a splash.

That’s why the ar­rival of French­man Jo­hann Zarco in 2017 has cast so many rip­ples through the cham­pi­onship, as the Mon­ster Yamaha Tech 3 rider sets out to do what he does best – and damn any­body who gets in his way.

Valentino who?

Lead­ing his open­ing race in the premier class in Qatar be­fore crash­ing out, clash­ing with Valentino Rossi three races in at the Amer­i­can Grand Prix, and tak­ing his first podium in front of 100,000 home fans at Le Mans, it’s safe to say that the 26-year-old has made a big im­pres­sion.

How­ever, com­ing into the cham­pi­onship with no pres­sure on his shoul­ders and with two years to learn the class be­fore the chance of a fac­tory bike, Zarco is in a good po­si­tion when it comes to learn­ing his trade with the Tech 3 squad.

“This year I have time to learn about the bike, about how to ride, and about my­self, as well. I’m us­ing all the ex­pe­ri­ence of my ca­reer to grow up and to al­ways be bet­ter and bet­ter.

“There is less pres­sure this year than when I was in Moto2. I have to do the job, I have to re­main fo­cused, but my po­si­tion as an out­sider means that there is less ex­pec­ta­tion than when I was pre­par­ing for the sec­ond Moto2 ti­tle. That means that I can en­joy my time with the team and learn.

“I can take more risks this year, like I did in Qatar. It was a shame that I crashed, but mak­ing mis­takes like that is part of the learn­ing process. And maybe it’s bet­ter to make them now than when I am fight­ing for a cham­pi­onship. “My tar­get is to win in Mo­togp. I want to win, I want to fight for the ti­tle, but I need to

take the time that I need to do that. At the mo­ment, every­thing is go­ing well – I just need to push at ev­ery race and al­ways think that I can take the podium. I must keep my feet on the ground, but keep push­ing for that podium.”

Who needs friends?

But while tak­ing risks on the track might not be win­ning him any friends, Zarco hasn’t ex­actly been woo­ing his ri­vals off the track ei­ther. A com­bi­na­tion of fiery tem­per­a­ment and an at­ti­tude that says he doesn’t care who he of­fends means that he’s also been start­ing scraps in the reg­u­lar Fri­day night safety com­mis­sion meet­ings where he ad­vo­cates for the rid­ers in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.

He said: “The Mo­togp guys some­times for­get that, although we are im­por­tant be­cause we are rid­ing the fastest bikes in the pad­dock, the guys in Moto2 and Moto3 are also hu­man! When you get more money and a bet­ter life, it makes you for­get many things about the peo­ple be­low you!”

Fly­ing the flag for Moto2

And that at­ti­tude fits with Zarco’s whole out­look on Mo­togp’s feeder classes, as he em­barks upon a mis­sion to sin­gle­hand­edly re­pair the rep­u­ta­tion of the mid­dleweight se­ries.

For many fans, Moto2 and Moto3 lack

‘It was a shame I crashed, but mak­ing mis­takes is part of learn­ing’ JO­HANN ZARCO

the ku­dos of the blue rib­bon class but the dou­ble world cham­pion says that it’s part of his job to show what Moto2 rid­ers are ca­pa­ble of as he takes on the best in the world.

He said: “Af­ter Qatar I could see that I’d sud­denly be­come more fa­mous than be­fore – peo­ple were talk­ing about me more af­ter six laps in Mo­togp than they did af­ter my two world ti­tles in Moto2. It’s al­ways good to be no­ticed and we must take it as a pos­i­tive and so I thank them for see­ing it and think­ing I am a good rider, but also I say don’t for­get the small cat­e­gories be­cause they are so im­por­tant.

“The peo­ple who know these cat­e­gories are the rid­ers, be­cause we are com­ing from there and we are look­ing at the guys in those cat­e­gories be­cause we know what they do and what they can be­come. The world doesn’t give the other classes enough recog­ni­tion so I’ll try to use this Mo­togp sta­tus to make the peo­ple look at the smaller cat­e­gories.

“This will change, I think. Let’s see how Rins can progress dur­ing the sea­son, but Jonas [team-mate Fol­ger who has also scored a rookie podium] and I can prove by our­selves that com­ing from Moto2 we are rid­ers with a good at­ti­tude and we just want to learn and to push. Of course Tito made the move from Moto2 be­fore us but he had dif­fi­culty adapt­ing so it didn’t work out so well for the rep­u­ta­tion of the se­ries.

“The only Moto2 guy who has made an in­stant im­pact was Mar­quez, but peo­ple al­ways say ‘oh he’s good be­cause he’s Mar­quez’ and not be­cause he came from Moto2. But Jonas and I will show that Moto2 is a strong class and it will get some at­ten­tion.”

Only Rossi stopped Zarco tak­ing a podium at Catalunya Even Rossi fans doff their caps to new­boy Zarco

What bet­ter place for Zarco to take his de­but podium than his home round?

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