Johann Zarco stormed to his first-ever Qatar podium on Sunday during the race and feels he can do this again.
It was a nailbiting finish for Ducati at the end of the season opener in Qatar with Joan Mir leading a Ducati duo consisting of Johann Zarco and Francesco Bagnaia with all three of the riders knowing that Ducati were going to have a major advantage on the straight. Mir would attack the corner very differently running wide in an attempt to straighten the bike up earlier and get a better exit from the corner but unfortunately for the 2020 MotoGP champion, the podium glory was not to be.
Mir would exit the corner and the Ducati’s would turn on their turbos as they rocketed past Mir as if he was stood still to steal the podium trophy from his hands like candy from a baby. Mir did a spectacular job coming through from P10 on the grid but unfortunately was left empty-handed after bringing a knife to a gunfight against the two Ducati’s with Zarco’s GP21 already proving it was fast on Saturday after setting a new top speed record of 362.4km/h, it didn’t help Mir that Bagnaia was sat in Zarco’s slipstream providing him the perfect draft.
In a twist of events, it has transpired that this is Johann Zarco’s first-ever podium in Qatar following a DNF in his rookie race in the MotoGP class when he ran at the front of the race completely stunning everyone watching. He put his Ducati GP21 in P2 using the additional power the Ducati provided him to blast past Joan Mir.
He has confirmed he is feeling incredibly happy and confident with the Pramac team and hopes he can do even more this season, he said, “It was an incredible weekend, it was nice to have a good start and gain 3 positions then Pecco and I felt good so I used this opportunity to follow Pecco [Bagnaia] and stay focused during the race, being fast but control the tyres at the same time, then Vinales arrived and had much quicker pace than us, I tried to follow him and stay in second but I used my tyres up a lot keeping up with him with the rear spinning a lot.”
Zarco and the Pramac Racing team
“In the last 2 laps I did as much as I could to keep Mir behind me but he overtook me,” he continued. “Thank you to my engine which gave me second place today. I am so happy, it’s the first race of the season here in Qatar and I am in second place, it is my first podium here in all categories which makes me very happy.
“We have a huge advantage on the Ducati on the straight but Vinales was strong in the corner exits gaining much time on us there, by the time we get the power on the straights again it is already too late, lap by lap his lead was growing from us so he did a great job and was very consistent after fighting with Fabio, it was a tough race for him and he won with consistency.
“I had no idea where anyone was in the last corner and had no clue Pecco was so close, it was very difficult and thankfully Mir went wide and I used my acceleration to get the podium. It will be ideal to fight for race wins and the bike has the potential, as long as I feel good on the bike I can do this every time but I don’t want to think about this too much. I am confident with the team and the bike.”
Featured images – motogp.com