For the first time since his Brno podium, Avintia’s Johann Zarco finished as the top Ducati rider in Sunday’s Teruel MotoGP at Aragon.
Starting from a strong fifth on the grid, Zarco held a podium place behind Morbidelli and Alex Rins for the opening 10 laps, before being overtaken by the previous weekend’s podium finishers Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Alex Marquez (Honda).
Espargaro was able to overtake, but Zarco just managed to keep Oliveira at bay after a fight to the line (pictured).
“Great race! Happy with the top five,” Zarco said. “I was thinking to maybe catch a podium because at the beginning of the race I was had a very good feeling. I wanted to stay with Morbidelli and Rins but they were a bit too fast to really stay comfortable behind them.
“After half the race I began to lose the control of the bike. When Mir overtook me, he was a good one to follow but he was a bit too fast. Then with Alex Marquez, the pace was OK, but he had a crash.
“I stayed alone for many laps and had a big gap over Pol, but he was catching me so I tried to manage as well as possible to be ready to fight. I didn’t do it with Pol, but I did it with Miguel and it was pretty good.”
After struggling to get back into the top ten following his stunning Brno weekend, Zarco has now taken a pair of 5th places in three races. He’s also gathering valuable Ducati experience to take to Pramac next season, when he hopes to be fighting for regular podiums on the latest Desmosedici.
“After many problems with the cold weather last week, and this week was also not easy, we got a great qualifying and a great result – the two most important moments,” Zarco said.
Responding to the suggestion that it takes most riders several years to really learn how to ride the Ducati, the #5 replied:
“I’m trying to take these races as the best training possible to be stronger for next year. So that’s the most important thing. I expect having one year [on the Ducati] will be enough to really understand everything, be competitive and fight for podiums next year.
“I also have the experience of two years with Yamaha and one complicated year with KTM and a bit with Honda. All of this can help me to understand things on the Ducati.”
Zarco is 14th in the world championship standings but a strong end to the season could yet see him crack the overall top ten, currently 15 points ahead.