Zarco "more in control" during second KTM test
New KTM MotoGP rider Johann Zarco feels he was "more in control" on the opening day of the final test of 2018 at Jerez compared to the previous test at Valencia.
Tech 3 Yamaha convert Zarco endured a tough opening test for his new employers last week in Valencia, where he suffered two crashes and ended up down in 21st on the timesheets on the second day.
He continued to struggle for outright pace on the first day at Jerez, his best time six tenths slower than Pol Espargaro's KTM benchmark, but reported a much improved feeling aboard the RC16.
Zarco said the key to his progress was finding more confidence at the front, with corner entry having been a weakness during the Valencia test.
"It’s coming together," he said. "Compared to Valencia, where I had two crashes, here I was more under control, and I think [I am] giving better information to the team.
"I did a step that I was looking for, about the riding and about using the positive things of the bike. When I did that step during the day, it gave me more happiness and also some more confirmation for the technicians.
"When I got a better confidence with the front, I’ve been able to play more with my body on the entry and corner speed, and this helped me to do an improvement during the day.
"It’s going well, feeling is improving, laptime is still slow, but when I’m improving I’m so constant, so I think this is a positive thing. When we get close to one second [to the pace] or under one second, we know it will be for every lap."
Zarco added he is still using teammate Espargaro's base set-up as a reference as he continues to adapt to the KTM after two years on Yamaha machinery.
"We are still trying to find our base," said the Frenchman. "We have Pol’s base, he’s going fast on it, we always keep it on the side to be sure and not go sometimes in the wrong direction.
"We are improving. It needs time, but really all the package is going up and it will grow up in the good direction."
Asked to name one specific strong point of the KTM, he replied: "The engine.
"This engine is giving a good feeling to go out of the corner, even if you miss the corner, anyway the bike will go. It’s one of the strong points that when we get even faster we will be able to use even better."
Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
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