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MotoGP, Zarco: "It's Honda's base that keeps us from going fast"

"It sounds crazy to say, but the base of the RC213V doesn't allow us to bend and turn in corners, and if I try to compensate with my body I have forearm pain. It could be an aerodynamic error, but we are working on it."

MotoGP: Zarco:

Twelfth place in the French GP is probably not the result Johann Zarco would have wanted to achieve in front of his home crowd, but it is undoubtedly the best the transalpine could aspire to this weekend riding the LCR team's RC213V. Despite Honda's constant efforts, its riders continue to struggle noticeably, as seen again this weekend at the Bugatti circuit. Another unprofitable trip for the House of the Wing, led by the two-time Moto2 champion in both the Sprint and the long race, which yielded Zarco a small haul of four points.

"There was no surprise. I came within 24 seconds of the winner, but in 27 laps, so taking less than a second a lap. That's why you can always tell yourself that a small thing can make a big difference. But it is the base of this bike that prevents us from going fast, that prevents us from bending and turning in corners. It sounds absurd to say that, however, it's reality," Johann told Canal+, who hopes to make progress over the Mugello weekend. "It could be a mistake under the aerodynamic profile, but we are working on it. On Wednesday in Italy we will do some testing, which should be good. We will have two days to catch our breath. I don't know what we will test, because in the end I don't need to know. I will know the whole test program on Tuesday night and that's good enough for me."

Despite some positives, there was no shortage of difficulties in the race for Zarco, including on a physical level.

"In this race and the weekend in general, the fighting side has been there. I manage to fight and change something in my riding to try to take better advantage of the bike, but then in the race it's hard because I can't keep up with the riders in front of me. I really try, but when I try to compensate physically, I have pain in my right forearm ," he explained, " However it was operated on, it's okay, it's not compartment syndrome, but to keep forcing it stiffens. As you go on, you say to yourself, 'come on, hang in there, hang in there, maybe it will be better at the end of the race with a little less fuel,' but I had a little less grip than on Saturday and that's what prevented me from really staying with Mir, Oliveira and Fernandez, who were ahead of me."

Gritting his teeth until the end, however, allowed the Frenchman to end the weekend with some small satisfaction. Taking advantage also of Joan Mir's fall, which made him the first of the Honda standard bearers at the Grand Prix finish line.

"Mir raced well, he always manages to get something out of the long race and he did well on Sunday, but his crash allowed me to be the first Honda of this French weekend," he remarked, " I got a few points, with the satisfaction of saying, 'I gave my best and I managed to keep the position.' My first satisfaction is to have kept behind Nakagami and Fernandez. There is no worse feeling for me than not finishing a race."

What gave Johann an extra boost was above all the warmth of the Le Mans crowd, who flocked to support their favorites throughout the weekend.

"On a crazy weekend like this one realizes that it is worth it to be a French rider at this level, because the public is really benevolent with us. What they gave us this weekend was unique, even more than before, even though we were not in the front. They only told me positive things, like :'go ahead, it will work,' and that makes me happy," acknowledged the 33-year-old. " I come back from the weekend in Le Mans with good energy, the desire to train and ride the bike, because I am making progress on a personal level as well. It's clear that I can't give up, and this weekend has given me even more of that feeling and that desire to improve."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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