Johann Zarco says that Pramac team-mate Jorge Martin’s run to his maiden MotoGP win in the Styrian Grand Prix “gives motivation” that he can do the same this weekend.
Zarco struggled to sixth in the first Red Bull Ring encounter as he battled rear tyre wear with his soft compound rear tyre while rookie team-mate Martin-who ran Michelin’s medium rear tyre- streaked off from pole to secure his debut premier class success by 1.5 seconds over reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir.
Such was the Frenchman’s troubles he dropped from fourth to sixth on the final tour of the 27-lap race, meaning he dropped further crucial points to title rival Fabio Quartararo-the Yamaha pilot’s run to third allowing him to extend his points lead to 40 over Zarco.
Despite his problems with his rear tyre “spinning” in the closing stages, Zarco labelled his race “nice overall”, though accepted there was nothing he could do to catch his title rival due to his countryman being in a “much better flow.”
“It was a nice race for me overall in the circumstances because it was tricky and I’m glad to have got the second start because I was much better, I felt much more able to fight with the other guys,” said Zarco.
“I had a good pace at the beginning but fighting against Fabio (Quartararo) is very difficult because he always brakes so late, so even if you have more power he brakes so late (that it’s hard to make move stick.)
“I saw Jack (Miller) crash so then I didn’t want to do any mistakes and I thought I could catch Fabio but he had a much better flow than me, but then over the last two to four laps controlling the spinning on my rear tyre was too hard for me and (Takaaki) Nakagami and (Brad) Binder caught me too easily.”
Zarco reckons he could have enjoyed the same pace as race winning team-mate Martin and runner-up Mir had he opted to not use the soft rear tyre option, though took consolation that he could still score his first premier class victory in this weekend’s second Red Bull Ring encounter with the speed his team-mate was able to show on his identical machine.
“I think in those moments I lost a bit of time because without the soft rear tyre I think I could have had the same pace as Jorge Martin and Joan Mir, but I was too busy fighting and then step by step I was losing time and it started to get difficult,” continued the two-time Moto2 world champion.
“When they overtook me I wanted to fight but it was on the last lap so I couldn’t do much, I got sixth which is no drama and this weekend we got the victory of my team-mate which was amazing, our bike has a very high potential to win and Jorge is proving it so this giving me motivation for next weekend.”