Zarco's KTM woes made Honda debut sweeter
Johann Zarco admits he could “enjoy” his first MotoGP result aboard a Honda more by “thinking where I came from”, a reference to his miserable stint with KTM.
Zarco made his first of three outings as Takaaki Nakagami's replacement on Team LCR's year-old Honda in the Australian Grand Prix, having been dropped with immediate effect from KTM after the Misano round last month.
With limited dry running at Phillip Island, Zarco qualified 14th and fought with ex-teammate Pol Espargaro for 12th – missing out on the run to the line by just over a tenth of a second.
Zarco admits he had to “relearn” the confidence needed to push a MotoGP bike prior to the race, and says he has to be “happy” with how the weekend went.
“My first race on the Honda and it’s with Pol I’m fighting,” Zarco said. “But we were smiling at the end of the race, because maybe he felt I had the possibility to go faster, but he said ‘no, you stay behind for at least one race’.
“[It’s a] huge track, so fast; Marc [Marquez] said on Thursday you need confidence [to go fast here]. If you don’t have confidence, you’re almost better off not trying.
“I had to relearn all of that, 300km/h, fighting with the guys and keeping the pace, doing 27 laps and having the confidence into the corners everywhere.
“So, good work. It’s normal to be unhappy [with a weekend], but thinking from where I came from, I can enjoy this result.”
One of the main positives Zarco highlighted from his race was his ability to maintain a positive feeling on the bike throughout the race, though he has pinpointed areas to work on this weekend in Malaysia.
“I could have a good fighting spirit and try my best and [I could feel] the good things on the bike – I didn’t get a worse feeling," said the Frenchman.
“The feeling remained very constant from the beginning to the end of the race. Only in acceleration did I find it difficult to control the drive.
“I don’t know if maybe I used [the] right tyre or not, because Marc won with the soft one. So, it means the soft was a good tyres and overall he won with 11 seconds [margin] over second.
“So, it is possible to manage, but I am still not able to. I felt things on the bike I’m going to work on to be able to control the bike better.”
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
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