MotoGP points lead “not redemption” for KTM nadir

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Zarco was signed to KTM from Tech 3 Yamaha in 2019 in a move that was expected to see him fight for race wins and the title with the Austrian marque.

But he endured a miserable part-campaign with the marque, terminating his two-year contract following the Austrian GP before KTM dropped him with immediate effect following the San Marino GP.

The French rider came close to a return to Moto2 in 2020 having passed over an Avintia ride in MotoGP, before Ducati was able to convince him to join its satellite squad.

After scoring a podium at Brno last year, Zarco was promoted to factory status again for 2021 with Pramac on current-spec Ducatis, and scored back-to-back second place finishes in Qatar to take a four-point lead in the championship.

Asked if he saw this as redemption after his decline at KTM, he said: “What happened two years ago, it’s a part of life. I took some decisions, I’m pretty happy now that I’m back with the top guys and enjoying.

“The first two races I had a lot of fun and it’s such a nice feeling to control it. So, I don’t think – and it’s not the time to think – about redemption.

“You just live your time and right now it’s this moment with Pramac and Ducati, and what I decided two years ago is done.

“So, I’m happy. I cannot say if I took the right decision or not. I took a decision in my way and thanks to Ducati I’m here.”

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Zarco felt he could have challenged Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo for victory in Sunday’s race, but admits Pramac teammate Jorge Martin was going “too fast” to overtake easily and settled on securing runner-up spot.

“With Jorge leading the race I expected to have a slower pace than last week because he’s a rookie and maybe he will get some stress, and finally we went faster because after half race compared to Pecco [Bagnaia] he was keeping the pace in 1m55s,” he said.

“I was happy because I was feeling good behind him and every time someone was overtaking me, thanks to the engine I was able to get second again.

“For me, this was the perfect race as last week to have this control, [to] keep this energy to fight at the end of the race, maybe for victory.

“I was able to think more about the victory because when Fabio came with four laps to go, I was feeling pretty good and I think the tyres were not so bad to have the chance of victory.

“But when he overtook Jorge he opened up a gap immediately.

“I wanted to overtake also, but Jorge was going a bit too fast and it was difficult to overtake him.”

Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Johann Zarco, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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