MotoGP: Zarco targeting first podium in front of home crowd

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2017 MotoGP rookie sensation Johann Zarco says he’s targeting his first ever podium in the premiere class this weekend when the championship heads to home soil for him in Le Mans.

The Frenchman has come close to the top step on numerous occasions so far since making his debut – including leading the opening race of the year in Qatar – but says that he believes this weekend represents his best chance of stepping it up a notch as his learning on the bike continues.

"The French Grand Prix is coming up and for sure, it will be a very interesting weekend. I am excited about racing in my home country because the beginning of this season has been superb so far in MotoGP with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. As a result, I think that the French fans are waiting for me and for this event. There is some pressure but I tried to manage it at home, in the week before the GP, where I rested and saved the positive energy.


“The first three venues that we have visited this year are much bigger than Le Mans, but the Bugatti circuit is small like the Jerez track. In addition, I have the advantage of knowing that because I had a good feeling in Spain, I can have a great feeling in France. I will fight for the best position and possibly even a top three because I am always getting closer and closer to the rostrum, which is the main target. I aim to have a strong race and then fight for the podium to make the Tech3 team, myself and all the French fans happy."

However, he isn’t the only Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider who’s got the potential for a good result at the weekend as teammate Jonas Folger also continues to make steady progress on the second M1 machine.

"I am really looking forward to the fifth round of the World Championship which will take place at the legendary Le Mans circuit. It’s the home Grand Prix for the team so of course, it’s a special race and there will be a lot of fans supporting us trackside in France. The circuit has recently been resurfaced so we will be able to experience the new asphalt, which I am excited about.

“I remember that it was a bit bumpy in the last few years and I had some trouble with this, plus I had a few crashes. However, it’s going to be great this year because I really like this circuit and combined with the fact that there will be new tarmac, it will be fun. I hope that we can continue working in the same way that we did in Jerez, and I will do my absolute best to get a strong result for the team in France."

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer