Let's admit it: we would have given anything to see the backflip with which he sealed his victories in Moto2. There were 15 of them, with two world titles and the impression we had was that we were dealing not only with an excellent rider, but also with quite a character.
It wasn’t as if before reaching the top class he had exactly rocked the casbah, know what I mean? One win in Moto3, in Japan and six overall podiums with Aprilia and Derbi, but they were given to him.
After arriving in Moto2 in 2012, he got off to a slow start, but the following year he had already climbed onto the podium twice. Until his explosion in 2015 and 2016 and an overall booty, as we said, of 15 victories and 30 podiums.
In his passage to MotoGP, he even pissed off Valentino Rossi who offended him with the phrase "that guy doesn't know how to ride" because Johann was outrageously brave and aggressive. And it was then that we hoped to see his backflip again soon.
Instead, since then there have only been many podium finishes: 10 second places and 5 thirds. He has even changed bikes four times: from the first test on the Suzuki to his arrival in Yamaha up to the decision to go to KTM, with relative and almost immediate divorce in 2019, which was formalized right at the Red Bull Ring.
From there a test with the Honda LRC and then his arrival, thanks to a second chance given to him by Gigi Dall'Igna, in Ducati, where he was for sure a protagonist, but never enough to convince the Bolognese company to firmly believe in him. Although after Michele Pirro, he was probably the rider Dall'Igna relied on the most for his inventions and the last one to abandon some slow-working solutions.
Meanwhile, without the possibility of performing those backflips, Johann became somewhat saddened, transforming himself into Paolo Campinoti's chansonnier, thanks to his musical ear. A convincing Aznavour, a bit sad like Charles, but unquestionably good. Had he been a bit more outgoing, Zarco would be one of the best characters in the paddock, as well as one of the best riders. But Johann is also an incredibly discreet and polite guy. Reserved, without ever being soft. Because when it is the time or the occasion, the Frenchman always speaks his mind without being outspoken in an Italian embellished by the typical soft pronunciation of his land.
It is now official that next season he will be riding the Honda LCR again in Lucio Cecchinello's team, even if we would really like to see him in the official team, in Repsol colours, because he deserves it. And he wouldn't look out of place given that, as per tradition, HRC only hires titled riders in MotoGP.
He agreed to a two-year deal - hopefully without options - because he didn't want to move to Superbike in 2025, which Ducati was offering him. And we see nothing reprehensible in that. Everyone pursues their own passions and related goals. Johann Zarco's are to do another backflip. And we sincerely wish him that.
I'm a showman in all his glory.
I was born to play.
Give me a shabby, heatless trestle.
I'll outdo myself.
Je suis un cabotin dans toute sa splendeur
Je suis né pour jouer
Donnez-moi un tréteau minable et sans chaleur
Je vais me surpasser