Zarco had Qatar crash flashbacks while leading at Le Mans

MotoGP star rookie Johann Zarco admits he had a flashback to his crash out of the lead in Qatar during his stint at the front of his home race at Le Mans.

Zarco had Qatar crash flashbacks while leading at Le Mans
Second place Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Second place Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Podium: winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, second place Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, third place Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Second place Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider, starting third behind the factory bikes of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, rocketed into the lead at the first corner on Sunday, and held the advantage until he was passed by Vinales on lap 7.

He held onto second until the latter stages, when he was passed by Rossi, but regained the place when the Italian crashed out of the lead on the final lap while battling Vinales for the win.

Zarco had crashed out of a comfortable lead on his MotoGP debut in Qatar, an incident he admitted was playing on his mind when he surged into the lead at the start of the Le Mans race.

But the Frenchman was delighted to claim a maiden premier class podium in front of his home fans, and said being passed by Vinales helped him maintain his pace.

“For me leading the race has been nice,” said Zarco. “It’s true that from the first race I feel good on the first corners and I took again this opportunity.

“When I was leading I had a quick flashback from Qatar and said, ‘Hey, don’t do the [same] mistake’. But the conditions were better so it was easier to stay on the bike than in Qatar.

“When [Vinales] overtook, it was great because I saw he was so fast and I was able to follow him. This has been a key for me for the podium, because I took his pace and then we could go away.

“In the end Valentino was so strong and was not many laps to go. I was up in third place but when he started to fight with Maverick I was thinking, here in France it’s quite a tight circuit so maybe something happens.

“I’m just happy, so many fans here. I’ve never been so strong like that, and I’m learning and enjoying.”

Soft tyre gamble

Zarco took the decision to use soft tyres front and rear on his Tech 3 bike, while the majority of riders opted for at least one medium – including Rossi and Vinales, who ran mediums all round.

The Moto2 champion admitted he was “lucky” that temperatures were cool enough during the race to make his tyre strategy a viable one.

“Because I only use the soft during the weekend, we wanted to go with the soft to keep this confidence,” explained the Frenchman.

“I’ve been lucky that today it was sunny, so big sunshine from the morning but finally for the race time it was not as hot as we expected; it was another key to keeping this pace today.”

shares
comments
Vinales aimed for last-corner overtake before Rossi error
Previous article

Vinales aimed for last-corner overtake before Rossi error

Next article

Rossi: Le Mans crash a “consequence” of earlier mistake

Rossi: Le Mans crash a “consequence” of earlier mistake
Load comments
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Prime

What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021