Two consecutive world titles in the Moto2, two great seasons in the MotoGP with the Yamaha Tech 3, and then his adventure in KTM. That didn't end well. With his contract terminated at mid-season, Johann Zarco was officially left out of the game, but he was then recuperated for two races by Honda and, finally landed in Ducati Avintia, with Gigi Dall'Igna's intercession.
An intercession that was necessary since, as usual, Johann Zarco spoke his mind after the Spanish team's first offer, and what he had to say was not edifying.
An unusual behavior in today's world, where behaving in a politically correct manner is practically a rule of thumb.
Now, however, everything seems to be working well, even if the tests in Sepang were not that impressive when it came to results: a 15th time, but right behind Dovizioso, about six tenths from the top and with a GP19.
What changed on the team that Zarco had vehemently refused in the beginning?
"It has become a satellite team. It was only a private team before," the Frenchman replied to Marca. "We've already seen it, in Malaysia, with the technicians who came directly from Ducati and who are always in house. We're working to get the best results. For Ducati, it's another team from which to get information. They trust me. I'm very happy about this. The feeling with them is already good. Now I know that my bike can win. At least races were won last year. I have to learn, but I have very clear ideas. I have full confidence in Ducati. I know that what I have is enough. And if I then go fast, and Ducati thinks I need something else, I think they'll give it to me because they've always been very close to the satellite team."
Seeing the results of KTM in Sepang, one might think that Zarco regretted the choice, but that's not true.
I wasn't able to do a good job with KTM. Also, there have been many problems under many aspects. I needed to make decisions and move forward," is the answer that leaves no room for discussion.
In the meantime, however, the role of leading French rider in the MotoGP was taken by Fabio Quartararo. And Zarco doesn't deny this.
"It was another period. He was different. Fabio has done very well, even better than me. Maybe he arrived at the right time because Valentino might want to retire. This has been the best time for him. However, if I had done like he did, it would have been the same now anyway. These are different decisions. But that's life. All of this is very positive for Fabio. If we manage to have two top riders, they'll still be happy in France."
Johann was given a chance, riding the Honda RC213-V on the LCR team, which did not materialize.
"Maybe something good came out of something bad because Ducati opened its doors. Those were things I couldn't handle," Zarco replied, and he doesn't like that his saying "no" to KTM is being compared to Lorenzo's "no" to Honda.
"I'm certainly much less interested in money than he is. I had to ask for a loan to get my house. He lives in a country where he doesn't pay taxes, or he pays less. I live in France, I pay taxes, and a mortgage. I had many reasons to keep on going for the money, but I didn't."