Johann Zarco says surviving “a lot of emotion” following the chaotic opening stages of the French Grand Prix made his “magic” rostrum result worth it.
The Pramac Ducati rider looked unlikely to be in the battle for the rostrum positions having taken the start from ninth on the grid, a task that looked even trickier after being pushed wide by Alex Marquez at Turn 4 on the opening tour.
He managed to survive multiple nasty incidents ahead though – including the clash between Marquez and VR46’s Luca Marini that occurred right in front of him – to eventually make his way up to fourth, which then became third after Marc Marquez crashed his Honda on the penultimate tour – allowing the Frenchman to secure his third premier class rostrum at Le Mans.
Zarco says that surviving the “emotion” of the opening half of the race was key to him being in position to fight for a podium finishes of the 1000th premier class outing.
“Compared to yesterday the start was much better and I could gain some positions in the first chicane, it felt great and I was even ready to attack (Marco) Bezzecchi but into Turn 4 Alex Marquez arrived quick on the brakes, and I didn’t want to crash so had to go wide,” said Zarco.
“I had to run (Brad) Binder wide, but in the end nobody crashed but clearly I lost a lot of positions which was a shame because the start was good.
“Then after when (Luca) Marini lost the front on the kerbs Alex Marquez couldn’t avoid him and the guys behind had to avoid both riders on the floor so there was a lot of emotion in just a few laps.
“Then I knew the pace could be good and I tried to fight for the podium, but (Augusto) Fernandez on the KTM was quite quick and not easy to overtake.
“I tried to do it and then made a mistake, then Jorge (Martin) arrived and could pass him then I got clear at the right moment and then at the end tried to be as close as possible to Marc (Marquez) and Jorge but luckily Jorge put pressure on Marc and he crashed I could get the podium.
“I tried to attack Jorge at the end but he was fast, but it’s still a magic moment as a podium is always special but one in France is even better.”
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