• Like every Monday, 

    20 Minutes

     gives the floor to a sports actor or actress who is making the news.

    This week, it's time for Johann Zarco.

  • The Moto GP rider at Pramac Racing has made a very good start to the season, already with two podiums in four races. 

  • He will start this weekend for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans with his compatriot, the Niçois Fabio Quartararo, second in the world championship standings. 

A sacred standard bearer for the Moto GP.

The Frenchman Johann Zarco, like his compatriot Fabio Quartararo, amazes at the start of the season.

The native of Cannes even occupied the head of the general classification for a time after his two podiums at the start of the season on the handlebars of his Ducati.

The last two Grands Prix in Portugal and Spain have been a bit trickier, but Zarco retains the same goal ahead of the French GP at Le Mans on May 16: to get on the podium while promoting his sport in France.

How do you judge your start to the season?

Well, it was really a nice surprise to finish second in Qatar for the first race of the season and then second again the weekend after. I was able to briefly lead the championship and although it surprised me a bit, that's where I want to be. Well, that's where I dream of being, so it's a goal that came sooner than expected. After that, my fall in the third Grand Prix costs me points, but I accept it. It's not necessarily a mistake on my part, let's say it's part of the job. If you don't accept it, you can't integrate the sport style that is motorcycling. But I quickly digested it for the next race in Spain. The pace was pretty interesting even though I couldn't do exactly what I wanted [8th place].

What is your objective for this French Grand Prix, and more generally for the rest of the championship?

The objective of this GP of France is the podium.

The Ducati has the potential.

We thought we would be a little less efficient in Jerez (Portugal), but in the end the Ducatis finished one and two.

So the goal is the podium and why not go for the victory, the weather will be cooler, with a risk of rain, and I know how to adapt to these changes in conditions.

For the season, the goal is to be in the top five, and then get closer to the podium.

For now, we are doing better than expected.

What is the impact of having two French people who shine in Moto GP, with Fabio Quartararo?

It has an impact at the national level.

It allows enthusiasts to dream and be even more passionate than before.

And it also helps introduce people to motorcycles.

Show them that it is a high level sport, with a lot of requirements.

With Fabio we are two people with heads of course the shoulders, we want to raise the image of bikers and highlight this freedom associated with adrenaline.

Do you think either of you has a chance to win the championship?

Yes, clearly.

It's hard to analyze but we have to perform at least over a decade to change our mentality.

We often talk about the absence of spectators with the Covid-19, will that change anything for you during the French GP?

For the pilots, it calms the weekend.

Clearly when we are on the track we do not hear their support, there is the noise of the motorcycle.

After that all this crowd that is around is missing, it's a different atmosphere but that does not change our job.

The atmosphere doesn't influence concentration too much, and it's nice to have it, especially in France, Fabio is a star, and it's cool to see lots of flags.

But there won't be this year, unfortunately.

You recently broke the speed record, with 362.4 km / h in Qatar.

How do we feel at this pace?

Yes, I passed the 360 ​​km / h threshold.

I have the fastest bike and on top of that I had the aspiration of another Ducati so I knew I was going to be fast.

But it's a beautiful number, 100 meters per second.

It's a great feeling when you like speed.

After that it remains rather anecdotal even if it is an important element which shows that the Ducati is the fastest.

Opponents are more careful because they know they can be passed in a straight line.

The performance of motorcycles is always more impressive, isn't it complicated for the human body to take?

As motorcycles evolve, equipment follows.

We are better protected in the event of a fall.

After that you have to be in good physical shape, but accepting these speeds comes with time.

At the beginning you go at 50 km / h, then 100 km / h;

then 150 km / h and your brain gets used to it.

Of course, if you put someone who has never been at these speeds at 340km / h he will not know what to do.

We know what to do, and that allows us to better tackle technical developments.

Most pilots seem to be recovering from terrible falls as if nothing had happened.

Do you also bluff yourself in these moments?

It is the experience that allows you to better manage the speed and not to panic about the position during the fall.

Then there are things you can't control, like getting carried away or hit by the motorcycle.

But here too, experience allows better management.

In these moments we hope that everything goes well, but it can be learned.

And there is the survival instinct.

Apparently most GP pilots have suffered from “compartment syndrome” like Fabio Quartararo, can you tell us about that?

I did not have this syndrome.

It hurts a lot in the forearms, motorcycles are very powerful and it is by the arms that we hold.

It is the tension that plays, depending on whether we hold on more or less.

The most important thing to avoid it is to stay fluid, but not everything is always fluid.

You have to have a high level of concentration to have this fluidity and avoid compartment syndrome.

But it's a lot easier said than done.

In an interview, the boss of your Pramac team said "Zarco is joining us at the perfect time, he's a pilot who didn't know who he was": what did he mean?

Now I am independent and I really know what I want.

I am 30 years old, I know what I want, I am a man, I make my decisions and I assume them.

I have taken steps thanks to these decisions, I am more mature and I am in a team in which everyone is well-trained, with a high-performance bike and an open-mindedness.

Speaking of open-mindedness, you are also a very good musician ...

I appreciate that sort of thing.

I play the piano, the guitar.

For a long time I didn't have TV, I just had a synth and never watched TV.

It gave me a lot, and five years later when I got a TV and turned it on I realized that I hadn't missed a thing.

We are always shown the same thing to scare us.

So whenever I get the chance, I play music.

Why did you call on the management agency of chnateur Soprano to support you in your career?

It ties in with the decisions I made in 2019 for the rest of my new career and the new organization.

The next step was to be able to be helped in the development and management of my image to be a true motorcycle ambassador in France.

We met with the OnlyPro team and common values ​​such as the pride of the national and especially regional territory, the artistic side, made it possible to forge a relationship of trust to start this collaboration.


Moto GP: Huge fear for Marc Marquez, victim of a terrible fall during the Spanish Grand Prix testing


Portuguese GP: Fabio Quartararo wins his second Grand Prix in a row and takes the lead of the championship

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