04/05/2021 at 7:00 PM CEST
There are many cases like that of French Johann Zarco. It is nothing new that an elite athlete, disappeared for a time, barely able to compete at the highest level, is reborn with such force that he becomes the best, for a few days or weeks, but the best. It is not strange, no, that all a two-time Moto2 world champion (2015 and 2016), I am without a motorcycle, without equipment, without the possibility of racing and, suddenly, I have a motorcycle again, and good, and equipment in which to take the leap in quality that I deserve.
Zarco is a very special athlete. So much so that it has been, they say, the only one who has not wanted to be vaccinated against Covid-19, in Qatar, as all the pilots of the three World Cup grids have done. So much so that, not understanding with his official KTM, he decides to renounce his contract and, after 13 races (the last, 11th in the San Marino Grand Prix, nothing more and nothing less than 32 seconds from the winner, of course, Marc Márquez), leave the team.
Dall’Igna’s Stroke of Genius
And this curious Frenchman, who now forms the ideal couple with his compatriot Fabio Quartararo, one at 30 and the other at 21, and who has all of France pending, well, motorcycling-loving France, had first the opportunity offered by the ‘team’ LCR Honda, ‘satellite’ of the winged firm and, later, of the Sponsorama Racing.
And he achieves a podium in Brno. And, from then on, he is the clever, alive, wise and intelligent Gigi Dall’Igna, engineer who created the Ducati ‘Desmosedici’, who contacted Zarco and asked him to be patient and not think about anything other than waiting for an offer from Ducati to make the leap in quality in 2021. And that’s how Zarco becomes the partner of the young man from Madrid, Jorge Martín, whom he raised yesterday with his arms after the MotoGP rookie finished third behind him, both defeated by the Yamaha Diablo.
When yesterday they spoke to him about staying the leader, winning races and even being champion in a ‘satellite’ team with motorcycles identical to those of the official ‘team’ of the Borgo Panigale firm, Zarco commented that “it would be the ideal goal and the season ideal, because I believe that both I and the motorcycle have the potential to try to always be up there, as long as I can maintain enough energy and my good relationship with the motorcycle & rdquor ;. Of course, the Frenchman assures that “I don’t want to think about any of that because, if I do, I’m sure I will lose & rdquor ;.
New airs at Ducati
“MotoGP & rdquor ;, explains Dall’Igna,“ should be ridden in a smooth way. I wanted to recruit Zarco to show that, with some changes in his riding style, he can ride our bike. Both Zarco and ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini have brought a breath of fresh air to our brand and that was very necessary, both for me, who am now older, and for the & rdquor; brand.
Simon Crafar, ex-rider and reporter for MotoGP.com, explains that he has already experienced a case similar to that of Zarco, that roller coaster, that revival with enormous success. “I know what that is, yeah, being on top of the world and then things don’t go well. You feel like nobody loves you. Then someone reaches out to you and you trust the new opportunity and when you have, again, success, it’s really great & rdquor ;.
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Zarco, born in Cannes 30 years ago, raced his 205th grand prix yesterday, getting 16 victories and 49 podiums, becoming world champion, in a very authoritarian way, in 2015 and 2016 in the extremely equal Moto2 category.
“The fact that we have beaten the factory team & rdquor ;, Zarco commented yesterday after the podium achieved by the two Pramac ‘satellite’ Ducati,“ is because we have the opportunity to have the same bike as them, but we work with much less pressure . That, maybe, can help us to have that greater mental strength, because they have not had a bad race, but everything is very tight & rdquor ;.
Goodbye to KTM
It is clear that his new situation, both personal and professional, has delighted him. “Being happy is what any human being wants. Sometimes life doesn’t help you, but now I’m doing well, life smiles at me and I’m in the perfect team. Also, Ducati gives you the best bike and that Latin atmosphere in the Pramac team makes me feel very good. When everything is stable it is easier to be up. I want to continue living this moment & rdquor ;.
And, of course, in return, Zarco wants to forget his problems with KTM. “What happened two years ago is part of life. I made a decision and now I am very happy to be able to be in front and fight with the leading drivers. The first two races I had a lot of fun because I was able to control the test. This is not the time to think about whether this is redemption. I live in the moment and this is what we are living now. I don’t know if the decision I made two years ago was the right one, but now I am here, very happy, thanks to Ducati. I don’t know if that decision has led me here, but if so, I have been very lucky & rdquor ;.
It goes without saying that Zarco praised the extraordinary career starring his new partner Jorge Martin. “Jorge did a job similar to the one Bagnaia did at the start of the first Qatar race, but this time Jorge gave him much more rhythm. I, behind Jorge, have been good and I have taken advantage of his excellent career & rdquor ;.