MotoGP Misano: Zarco in need of ‘confidence for extra step’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Johann Zarco’s Prima Pramac MotoGP journey continues in 2023 after the Frenchman reaffirmed his commitment to the Satellite Ducati squad.

Speaking at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix, Zarco was pleased to have his future secure with the Bologna manufacturer, even if his name was never in the running for the factory seat.
“Clearly it was just the time to wait so everything can be confirmed in Ducati,” the 32-year-old said from the Italian paddock. “To continue with Pramac is very important to me because it’s the factory bike in Pramac for many years so it’s a chance to have the best material and good work to develop the bike with Ducati. Plus this feeling is going well with Ducati and [Paolo] Campinoti, it’s positive to stay with them.

“Going to the factory team is always a nice dream but it was more a challenge between the young guys, I’m kind of the old one in the class but still performing pretty well.

“Staying with Pramac is a good thing because it’s a satellite team and they need some sponsor, and when they have a rider that can perform and stay in the team it’s also positive for the sponsor that are helping Pramac to do the best season possible.

“The relationship is always nice with the bosses of Ducati,” he continued on the battle for the factory seat. “I’m old enough to joke with them and when they were wondering whether to take a Spanish or Italian guy, I explained that France was right in the middle! They explained me well that they preferred to be more focused on the guys that have sure ten years in front of them in MotoGP, than me, I don’t say I only have one year but I wont push for ten! So that’s why, they were more focussed on the young guys.

“But on the other side, to keep someone performing in the satellite team is pretty important because most of the time the difficult life of a satellite team is building up good guys and then these young boys are going to the factory team. For the sponsors around it’s a strange, tough period for many people, for the world, and it’s always hard to motivate sponsors for the satellite team when the good riders are going away, so if I can stay and keep motivating these partners I’m the first one to be happy.”

While Zarco has consistently sat towards the top of the standings across the 2022 season, and remains fourth, just 31 points off factory rider Pecco Bagnaia, he has, as yet, no MotoGP wins to his name. So what does the Frenchman need to make that next step?

“It’s still some amount of confidence to make a step forward,” Zarco admitted. “Now the Ducati needs very high feeling on the front and to understand many things with the front ,where Pecco is the strongest in that area. I do not feel exactly the same as the others and maybe that’s the point where I’m taking sometimes a bit of time. Even when I’m competitive, still in race there is something stopping me in that feeling.

“This feeling have to come setting the bike even better, to fit to my style or do I have to adapt even more? We try to do both ways. I think I’m doing good improvements compare the beginning I did with the Ducati, the improvement is quite good. When this will come even better, the confidence will be also well done to perform.”