Second in the MotoGP world at mid-season, Johann Zarco can hope for the final podium in the championship, and dream of the title. His first MotoGP victory seems closer than ever.
Four podiums, one pole, five first rows, two fastest laps, 122 points scored: Johann Zarco signed in 2021 the best first part of his season in MotoGP. Results which allow him to occupy second place in the championship at mid-term, 34 points behind Fabio Quartararo but 13 ahead of the third, Francesco Bagnaia.
Nine races remain to be contested in the current state of the calendar, still subject to the evolution of the health crisis and the resulting restrictions. In order: Spielberg, Spielberg 2, Silverstone, Aragon, Misano, Austin, Sepang, Valence, Portimao. What to expect from Johann Zarco between now and the last Portuguese arrival?
French supporters hope him as the holy grail, the reward he deserves more than anyone in the peloton: the first victory. On 11 podiums in MotoGP, Johann Zarco is still chasing a first success. He narrowly escaped him this season – a second in Losail, only 175 thousandths in Catalonia. Competitive, fit and equipped with a Desmosedici GP21 capable of winning, he has all the cards in hand to win it.
The French driver repeats that he is not obsessed with it, but this liberating Marseillaise is more desirable than ever. The happiness would be twofold, because it would also be the first victory for the Pramac Racing team since joining Ducati.
Where can this Marseillaise resonate? The lesson of the first part of the season is that the ‘Ducati circuits’, ‘Yamaha circuits’ are not (no longer) safe values. Yamaha won at Losail and Mugello, where Ducati was expected; Ducati won at Jerez and Le Mans, where Yamaha was expected.
However, some tracks should naturally be better suited to the Desmosedici. We are thinking in particular of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, where two Grands Prix will take place over the next two weeks. Two opportunities for the Cannois to win, but also for the Ducatists to regain ground from Fabio Quartararo.
To regain ground, because that is the other objective of Johann Zarco: the championship. Unlike some of his opponents who are in the language of wood, the Pramac driver has never hidden having general classification objectives. A bronze or silver medal would be a superb accomplishment, the best of his MotoGP career. But the supreme ambition is obviously that of the title.
2021 could be his year, provided he continues to combine speed and consistency, as he has done in recent weeks. Johann Zarco didn’t win but was able to be fast everywhere and make few mistakes. A formula similar to that applied by Joan Mir last year, and which had paid off. Not being expected as one of the initial favorites can also help relieve the pressure, as can not being a member of an official squad.
The position of satellite pilot suits him well, and Johann Zarco will also have this ambition in mind: to be the best independent pilot of the year, as achieved in 2017 and 2018. He is very much so for the moment. Another demonstration of the excellence of its first part of the season, which only asks to be extended on the same dynamic.
Johann Zarco – MotoGP Results (2021 = in progress) :
2017 : Yamaha YZR-M1 (Monster Yamaha Tech3)
2018 : Yamaha YZR-M1 (Monster Yamaha Tech3)
2019 : KTM RC16 (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) / Honda RC213V (LCR Honda Idemitsu)
2020 : Ducati GP19 (Esponsorama Racing)
2021 : Ducati GP21 (Pramac Racing)