Zarco: Second day worse than expected

Johann Zarco endures a difficult second day on KTM’s RC16; “we got better control of the bike, but the speed is not there at the moment.”
Zarco: Second day worse than expected

Amid the buzz and excitement of new machinery, teams and personnel, Johann Zarco was arguably the rider wearing a most pained expression at the end of the second day of MotoGP testing, stating his experiences with KTM’s RC16 were “worse than expected.”

Zarco crashed twice through Wednesday, and was unable to better his personal best of 1m 32.509s late in the day, despite a final push. The double Moto2 world champion ended Wednesday 21st overall, 1.7s back of pace setter Maverick Viñales.

“What can I say after the second day,” pondered Zarco. “Worse than I expected. I wanted to improve more the lap time, but I could not do it. About feeling, we were improving, and we got better control of the bike, but the speed is not there at the moment. So I'm disappointed about the result today.



“It's a shame, I had two crashes, but I didn't have any injuries, that's important, and it helped us to really understand the weak point of our bike. And I also understood things about my riding that also on this bike, I will have to also a little bit my riding style. So step by step, I'm building up that advantage.

“My main problem for me is still the entry of the corner. We are not able to feel well the tire when I lean the bike, and when I'm braking. So we are working on it to get a better feeling, to try to get some direction and information to then maybe develop the bike in some way.

“I've been sad today to have two crashes, and really, this blocked me to be faster. I would say at the moment, the easy feeling to come into the corner.”

Zarco in renowned for a silky-smooth riding style, and spent the early parts of 2018 attempting to imitate the movements, accelerating and braking techniques of Jorge Lorenzo when the Spaniard was a Yamaha rider.

Does he feel a revision of his riding style will be necessary to get the most out of the RC16? “That's possible,” he said. “I will have to think about it, I'm already thinking about changing things in my riding style, but what was strong on the Yamaha must also be strong on other bikes.

“I can follow Marc, and I can see that he is strong on entry, not just because of his skills, even if he has something maybe better than the other riders, but also because the bike is giving him the possibility to go.

“So we improved the feelings, and that's a good thing, that I now play better with the bike, just the speed is not yet.”

So the crashes came with no warning? “No, and that's the thing. But in the position I was, I could not have a warning and catch it, so good thing that I just slide and it didn't touch my confidence. I said to the team I will continue to attack, because I think it's also the right way to push to the limit at the moment.”

Zarco ended the day eight places and 0.9s back of new team-mate Pol Espargaro’s best time. The Frenchman explained how he was able to offer “fresh information” to the team regarding the RC16’s front end.

“It's true that anyway, from fresh information, overall at the end of the 2018 season, overall I got back a great pace and I was competitive to go on the podium. So it means I understood how to go at that speed.

“I think just about acceleration or feeling on the bike, I was saying, 'Do you think this feeling is strange?' and he was answering me, 'I almost don't feel it any more because I'm used to it.' So it kind of opened his mind back, and he was happy for that. That was the fresh information.”