Johann Zarco has downplayed an incredible lap set on the final day of the 2018 MotoGP pre-season that saw the Frenchman end the third of three outings within spitting distance of MotoGP’s longest-standing lap record at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Finishing the final day a mere 0.1 seconds from Jorge Lorenzo’s outright lap record set all the way back on his debut weekend in the premier class in 2008, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider stunned the paddock by taking the satellite machine to the top spot ahead of factory rival Valentino Rossi.
But despite the blistering pace he was able to set for a single flying lap, Zarco was well off the rest of the leading pack when it comes to race pace. And he’s well aware that if he’s got any chance of finishing what he starter twelve months ago when he led his debut MotoGP race before crashing out after six laps then he’s got a lot of work to do come race weekend in a fortnight’s time.
“I’m happy that I finished on the top, because it’s so great for the team for me. It gives us confidence and lets us leave testing with a smile on our faces, knowing that doing good work and keeping to our method means that when we can improve.
“When I tried to find the race pace, I was too slow though. Very constant but just a little too slow. But we know why, and we still have the race weekend to prepare a better pace. After three days of testing, maybe I kept a bit too much of calm for the race simulation. When you go for the race, you’ve got a very aggressive mind, but when I went out for the long run I was happy after the fast lap time and just wanted to finish the test safe. There’s a few tenths that we can find on the bike and a few tenths that I can find in myself.”