What a spring ! In the space of a few weeks, Johann Zarco broke the world speed record on a motorcycle by going up to 362.4 km / h before climbing, a few days later, on the podium of the first two Grand Prix in the category. queen of the discipline, taking the lead in the World Championship. Falling back to fifth place in the standings on the eve of the French Grand Prix this Sunday, Zarco (Ducati) dreams of the world title, just like his compatriot Fabio Quartararo who has escaped France since Patrick Pons in 1979. Except that today , with audiences at the top thanks to the two successful French representatives, the motorcycle has become fashionable again.
This weekend, the French GP at Le Mans is broadcast both on Canal + and unencrypted on C8 from 13:55.
An event for all fans.
Especially since Quartararo took pole a week after his arm surgery.
His compatriot Johann Zarco will start from 5th position.
The encrypted channel devotes 24 hours of direct throughout the weekend.
How do you judge your start to the season?
Rather well, I think.
To have started the season with two podiums and a place at the top of the World Championship after the Grand Prix of Qatar, it was a nice surprise.
It was indeed the goal I had given myself but I did not think it would happen so quickly.
I am joining a new team, Ducati, and there is always a time to adapt between her and me.
The Ducati has exceptional potential but it is not easy to exploit.
So what happened in the first two Grand Prix was very promising.
Even before my fall in Portugal, I played my marbles for a new podium and I confirmed my place as leader of the championship.
But I was unlucky and made a mistake.
It was a simple slip, nothing serious.
How do you become a MotoGP rider?
I started to have a taste of motorcycling around 9-10 years old on a rental basis.
I wanted to go back there and I was lucky to have a motorcycle club not far from where I lived.
From 13 to 17 years old, I had a good training with a coach who knew it really well.
I drank his words and at 19 I started the Grand Prix.
Finally, I realize that to succeed in something exceptional, you must not follow a normal course.
Is it true that you almost stopped everything?
My career started globally at 19.
But I had a more laborious course than others, having to prove myself in order to move up to the next category each time.
So as not to lose patience, I put a philosophy in mind: to do my best to hope to get there but without ever being sure.
During my last two years, yes I almost gave up because I was no longer efficient and running so as not to be is not very useful.
I didn't like it because I was running without being able to set a goal.
But I had the chance to bounce back.
I have been taking this whole period as a rewarding life lesson.
This is also why I appreciate my current position even more even if it does not change the man I am.
What are your relations with Fabio Quartararo?
We're not from the same generation, so we're not shooting each other.
We both know that what we're aiming for right now may not last forever so we both enjoy it in our own way.
When we cross paths, we don't particularly talk about racing.
We always have a quick note to mess around and it's pretty cool.
Fabio Quartararo (left) and Johann Zarco before the French Moto GP Grand Prix JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER
How did you feel when you beat your world speed record at 362 km / h?
A good adrenaline rush!
But you know, I'm programmed for that so I got there gradually and it's a pretty cool feeling but anecdotal in the end.
At this speed, we are doing 100m per second and it goes too fast to think about it when we are on the machine.
Did you feel the difference with a normal running speed?
In the race, I can go up to 355 km / h like in Qatar.
I was at 342 km / h in Portugal.
So at the time, we didn't really feel the difference at 362 km / h except that I didn't manage to stop to pass the turn at the end.
I had to step aside.
At 350 km / h, we have time to stop.
Read also Randy De Puniet: "A chance to have two champions like Quartararo and Zarco"
You are the fastest man in history on a two-wheeler ...
For people who don't know, it gives the impression of coming from another world and it's kind of funny.
But it's part of my job and so much the better if it makes people talk.
But that doesn't change the game of what I want to do on the bike to be among the best, to be the best.
These are all good things but don't change the course of my life.
I take this opportunity above all to go as far as possible.
Why has motorcycling once again become a fashionable sport that is a hit on TV?
We have the impression that motorcycles are more popular in Spain or Italy, but the French are like everyone else: a bit chauvinistic.
If the bike works in other countries, it is because they have good riders there.
Having two French people who take turns leading the World Championship creates enthusiasm.
It's like with biathlon: why the French looked at it?
Because there was Martin Fourcade.
I was looking to follow him, thanks to him.
We become chauvinistic when there is an interest in watching.
And the images are often magnificent ...
The motorbike is a wonderful sight. And the format of the races is ideal: they last around forty minutes with exceptional images. This allows you to watch the start and go to the end unlike in F1, where a race can sometimes become boring and you risk falling asleep. It can't happen with a MotoGP where there are always lots of twists and turns.