A race weekend to remember for Johann Zarco. The French rider of the Pramac Ducati team was able to manage well a race that was not easy and full of pitfalls, as witnessed by Bagnaia's crash. Starting from the second row and after a first half on the defence, he then used his experience in the wet to change pace and devour the rivals in front of him lap after lap. After overtaking a resurgent Morbidelli, it was then the turn of Marquez while he could do nothing about Bezzecchi, as the Italian literally took off right from the start. A second step on the podium and twenty points took Zarco to third in the standings with 35 points, sandwiched between the Ducatis of Bagnaia (41) and Marquez (33).
The first half of the race you seemed to be struggling, then your pace changed and you moved up the standings to take the second step of the podium.
"I was pretty focused from the beginning and I believe that in these conditions I can have the chance to be on the podium or even fight for the victory. The first few corners were good for me but then the first eight, nine laps were the other way. Other riders had better pace than me. I tried to fight but it was hard to keep the positions and a few mistakes. Then, the first seven riders really went away quite fast but then at around half race distance I started to have a difference with others. I saw that they had more rear grip problems and I could get a better pace. I began to come back and all the control was good and I did not make any mistakes. But thinking about the podium was tough because 11 laps to the end I could not even see the podium and I was still in seventh position. I stayed focused and fortunately we didn’t have any laps less. Was the perfect timing to get Morbidelli and then Marquez at turn five.”
What sensations does this result give you?
“It was a long time since I tasted the podium and we know what to improve to think about the victory. This result shows us that we can achieve more if we manage to fix a problem that occurs both in the dry and in the wet. In the wet, however, I manage to make a difference, so I hope we can figure it out to be able to keep improving this season."
What made the difference in the second half of the race?
"The Italian media told me that it's my strategy to wait in the first half of the race... but it's not true that I waited, I've always given it my all! - jokes Johann - usually the other riders manage to have good traction and lean the bike well, while I have some difficulties. When the track is very wet, however, their advantage vanishes and being able to get the bike up quickly, I get out of the corners faster than my rivals. When traction is higher so is rear tire wear, which is why I managed the second half of the race better. We had the same situation in Indonesia and Thailand last year, where however I didn't have the confidence I had today".
Today Bezzecchi seemed to run a separate race.
"A good result like this gives a very good motivation. Congrats to Bezzecchi - I was in fifth position and there were three guys in front of me and I thought if I catch them I will be second, but where is the first one? I even thought that there was maybe a mistake on my pit board. I could see him on the last lap but was four seconds in front and he did an amazing job. Hope my turn will come this year."
Oggi Bezzecchi è sembrato correre una gara a parte.
"Sono molto soddisfatto del mio risultato, podi come questo regalano molta fiducia ad un pilota. Devo anche congratularmi con Marco. E' stato tra i più veloci per tutto il fine settimana, una vittoria meritata. Quando ero in quinta posizione in gara ho visto i tre piloti davanti a me ed ho pensato: ok, se li sorpasso sarò secondo.. ma dov'è finito il primo? Ed ho pensato ad un errore nella segnalazione. L'ho intravisto soltanto all'ultimo giro, ma era troppo lontano. Così lontano che avrebbe potuto fermarsi ad aspettarci! - scherza ancora il francese - ha fatto una gara incredibile, la sua prima vittoria in MotoGP. Spero che questo sarà l'anno in cui verrà anche il mio turno di salire sul gradino più alto del podio".