For a rookie in MotoGP, a podium in the 5th race is something special, even more if it coincides with your home Grand Prix. Zarco was able to experience that emotion at Le Mans, where there was even a special grandstand for his fans.
“This was the first GP where people would stop me in the paddock and ask me to get on the podium - he recounts - At a certain point I felt the pressure, so in FP4 I began telling myself to stay calm. It worked because I did my best MotoGP weekend so far. The support of my fans helped too.”
The crowd was logically all for him.
“I am living the moment. This is very emotional but the emotion after winning my second Moto2 title was greater. I cried that time” he remembers.
Today no tears fell from his eyes, but there is great joy and Johann is in the mood to joke. So he light-heartedly tells us about the last part of the race.
“At that moment Viñales had more traction than I did. Then Valentino passed me and I realized that he was also faster in turns. He went after Maverick and I was expecting a great battle. In fact, I thought that maybe something would happen and I’d be able to move up another step on the podium”, he smiles.
That is exactly what happened, but it is more than just the second place that made Zarco happy. Having led the race in the early laps was also a great satisfaction.
“At that moment what happened in Qatar came to mind - where he had crashed – and I thought about not making mistakes. The truth is that I felt good from the first corner and I attacked. I am continuing to learn and I am also having fun. Today I realized that I can stay with the best.”
The Frenchman was one of the few to choose the soft tyre combination, unlike the factory riders.
“It’s because I am a sweet person, even with the ladies I am always soft - he jokes - To be honest, I had always used those tyres in practice. I had confidence and for me they were the best. I started to struggle a bit coming out of turns only in the last 7 laps.”
This podium is also payback for those who had underestimated him.
“Rabat was unable to adapt to MotoGP quickly and so many thought that Moto2 is not worth anything. But both Folger and I are doing well, so things are different and I think that Morbidelli will also do well when he comes up to this category.”