The riders are getting used to the new MotoGP format, and those like Johann Zarco have discovered that Saturday’s Sprint Race can be very useful to better prepare for Sunday’s.
“It’s interesting, and it allows you to get useful information. It’s also fun, since you can battle it out with the other riders. Of course, qualifying and then racing on Saturday is really demanding, but there’s more entertainment, and it’s also fun for us riders,” Pramac’s French rider admitted. “The interesting thing is that, in the sprint, you get a first taste of the true level of the other riders. You can follow someone during practice, but you never know what kind of work they’re doing, and everyone is pushing themselves to the limit.”
Johann, however, didn’t fully support the new format and pointed a finger at too many off-track engagements for riders.
“They can’t forget that we ride motorcycles at 300 an hour,” he warned. “I don’t agree that it’s mandatory for riders to meet the fans fifteen minutes before getting on the bike. It’s true that it’s only the FP3, but it’s always difficult to ride a MotoGP. The show is okay. We do it on the bike, but we also need time to concentrate. I don’t like that this is mandatory.”
Back to what’s happening on the track. Zarco is pleased with his start to the season.
“Overall, I’m quite happy with the first two Grand Prixs,” Johann admitted. “At Termas de Rio Hondo, with the rain, I found my conditions, those in which it’s easier for me to do well. I expected to win, but Marco was too fast. To be third in the championship is a pleasure. Right now, everything is possible, but we have to focus on the weekend, because it’s too early to think about anything else.”
But not about improving, and the French rider knows what to focus on.
“For my riding style, the other riders have less grip at the end of the race, while I manage to safeguard the tires and have an advantage. But I’m missing a couple of tenths in the first few laps to be able to battle it out with the others.” He analyzed his strengths and weaknesses. “It’s not much. We don’t have to upset everything. We’re talking about sensations, and we have to find the right ones that help me do what I want when I want.”
This might happen in Austin, where the Texas sheriff, Marquez, won’t be present. “Without Marc, we’ll have more room on the podium because he would definitely have fought for the top three places,” Johann said smiling.
Finally, he commented on Gino Borsoi as team manager: “He worked many years on the Aspar team, almost always fighting for the title, and he brought that mentality. It makes everyone focus on the details and think about the championship. He knows that we’re here to race and win. It’s the same environment that was there when I raced with Ajo. It’s a return to the origins. Gino is tiny, but he’s a real leader,” he concluded with a joke.