The pole position earned on Saturday had really made Johann Zarco one of the contenders for the victory up for grabs at Assen, but things went differently. After losing the race lead, the Frenchman stayed close to the front until the final laps, when his choice to switch bikes to put on rain tyres did not pay off at all, instead relegating him to 14th place.
However, despite this, Zarco sees the glass half full: “In general I can say that it was a positive day. I did an excellent start from pole and with the dry asphalt at the beginning of the race I was able to take the lead with great confidence. Subsequently I began to battle with the riders behind me, alternating positions, but compared with them I struggled in various points of the track, in any case managing to stay close for a bit, but then it began to rain.”
And this is where the great turning point in the race arrived for Johann.
“To be honest, at that point I was very nervous about the idea of crashing since I was at the limit, so I decided to change bikes. In the end, it did not rain enough but I think that is part of the game, just like making mistakes like the one that led to me being penalized with a ride through. I am still of the idea that it was a positive Sunday, since on the dry track I was fast and I was in the battle for the podium. That is the goal and we need to work toward achieving it, but we are already close.”
Another important moment in Zarco’s race was the contact with Rossi, which could have cost both the riders the race.
“When I saw him go wide I tried to go inside because I wanted to stay ahead, but his speed in the turn was very good. I was leaned over on the right, so I couldn’t see and when I decided to have another go we touched. I’m the one who almost fell, but at least I managed to save the bike.”
So there are no regrets and no excuses from the Frenchman, who in any case proves to be sportsmanlike: “He was a warrior and he won. He proved to be an example again today.”