“I am in the situation that I wanted to be in”

19/03/2015

Johann Zarco finishes his 2015 preseason and offers his thoughts on the winter, one week away from the start of the Moto2 World Championship.

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Johann Zarco elected against riding on Thursday at Jerez Circuit, due to adverse weather conditions. Instead, he gave an interview about his thoughts on the 2015 preseason and his hopes for the upcoming campaign with Ajo Motorsport and Kalex. Zarco was quickest at both the first Jerez test and the runout in Valencia, and reflects positively on the now-concluded winter activity.

The first season for Ajo Motorsport in Moto2 begins next week, with the Qatar Grand Prix.

What conclusions do you draw from this preseason?
“We have completed the test in a very positive way. We have had some testing in all kinds of conditions: Some in the dry and some in the wet. We are happy about that. We were able to ride a lot and be fast and consistent in the dry. In testing, being the fastest rider is not the most important thing but always gives you more motivation. In the wet we were not the fastest but we worked very well and obtained good data. I felt good on the bike, largely because there is a better understanding from the team of both me and the bike. The overall analysis is positive, especially with suspensions and chassis. We have been a reference on track thanks to the Kalex, but in Qatar we’ll see where we really are. We must make the most of the good feeling we have encountered.”

Are you satisfied with your pace as well as your time?
“Yes, of course. So far, everything I’ve done with Ajo Motorsport and this bike is much better than I have done previously in Moto2. Times have been very good and the pace has not been bad. For a race simulation I need a little more consistency, but we’ll see in the race. I hope to be up at the front.”

What do you hope to improve, or what would you have liked to take another step forward with ahead of the first race of the year?
“I don’t know, really. Perhaps coping with the pressure of a weekend, but this can’t be trained at a test. It’s important to manage the pressure to find the perfect setup for the bike, because the set up is fine now. The only thing that can go wrong now is in my head, so I want to take things calmly.”

Did you expect to achieve such positive results this preseason?
“I don’t know if I expected it, but I wanted it. After four years in Moto2 I wanted to be up at the front. I’m happy to be able to get there. I don’t know if I was expecting this, but it’s where I want to be.”

What are the differences between this season’s Kalex bike and last year’s?
“There is not too much difference between them. I think the most important thing is that I changed my mentality and have tried to understand and adapt my riding style to the bike at times. The team tell me if I’m riding well or not. I try to listen more to the people around me than last year. I think this is the main difference. The bike helps me to be more consistent with my laps, because it is easier to handle than last year.”

Did you have to change your riding style much to adapt to the bike?
“Not much, really. I have just focused on my track references. In particular I had to ride more smoothly, which is very important in Moto2.”

“In the first race there is always a lot of pressure, so I will try to keep a cool head”

Did being on a new team and a new project in Moto2 scare you before you started?
“No, the truth is that I was very confident and excited about the project with Ajo Motorsport. I have known Aki [Ajo] since 2011. His structure in Moto3 has shown for years that they are always candidates to win the championship, so my manager, Laurent, and I knew it would be a very serious and professional team.

He knows how to treat people who are around him. That’s why I was not worried at all about joining this new project in Moto2. The team members are experienced and know the class. We are a new structure, but the members are not.”

You were part of this structure before, in 2011. Are there differences from then?
“Well, maybe Aki [Ajo] smiles more now. But he is always very professional and serious. I have also worked hard and improved since then. In 2011 I was able to fight for the World Championship and this year perhaps I can do the same, because I feel more prepared.”

After the preseason, what are your expectations for this year?
“I want to fight for wins. Also, if possible, I want to fight for the championship. I’ll try to get the maximum number of points possible in each race and also enjoy myself this year. We have the first race just around the corner and I really want to get out there. It is a nice place to contest the opening round.”

Which riders will be fighting for the World Championship?
“Certainly Tito [Rabat], because he is the current champion. Another one who you cannot rule out is Sam [Lowes] because in both dry and wet conditions he has been very fast. The Moto2 times are really tight, so I prefer to focus on myself, do my job well and we’ll see who’s up there.”

This year there are many Kalex bikes on the grid. Do you think that the races will be closer?
“Yes, it’s very possible. Although Sam [Lowes] does not have a Kalex and has been very fast. Everyone wants a Kalex because it is the fastest bike throughout the entire season. I was one of those who wanted a Kalex. I will just try to do my own season.”

What is the target for Qatar?
“To fight for the victory. That is the first objective. We have already shown that we can be quick. Now I’m going to go for it and enjoy myself. In the first race there is always a lot of pressure, so I will try to keep a cool head.”

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