“Too bad the new chicane doesn’t bear my name”

Johann Zarco | © Dorna

Johann Zarco regrets that the new harassment at the Red Bull Ring is not named after him. The Frenchman has been criticized for instigating the incident in 2020 and joked that the newly installed harassment could at least bear his name.

Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, there was much talk about the new harassment. Following the incident at the 2020 MotoGP race, where Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli collided at very high speed and their crashed machines were narrowly avoided by Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, the circuit has been altered to prevent a repeat.

The first design looked quite smooth, but the actual result is a nuisance with two 90 degree turns. The very fast corner 2 at the Red Bull Ring will therefore no longer be used and will make way for the slow chicane.

In his media debrief on Thursday afternoon, Johann Zarco talked about this new harassment and what he thinks about it. After the aforementioned incident in 2020, the Frenchman was seen by many as an instigator and therefore received a lot of criticism when, as a joke, he believed that this new harassment could at least have carried his name.

John Zarco: “That [nieuwe] harassment [op de Red Bull Ring] is quite slow, but I don’t think we will lose the advantage with Ducati. On the other hand, the advantage we had here earlier with Ducati is now not so great, the others have made great progress.

I think it’s a shame the new harassment doesn’t bear my name with all the words I’ve had thrown at me in recent years. It would be nice to at least have this chicane named after me.

With this chicane, the chance of a crash might be a little higher, but if you fall, it’s probably a small drop where you’ll slide. It might cause some problems in a race, but because the speed is low, I hope it won’t have serious consequences. The big crash of two years ago will not happen again. It is a way to speed things up and avoid major incidents.

Technically it’s a shame to lose this part of the track, but for me it’s not a big problem as I’ve never been that strong in this part. It was hard to overtake someone there because the speed is already so high. Fabio [Quartararó] was fantastic there as he was able to control his machine very well and brake very late. Maybe that’s why this new chicane is better for me.”

Two weeks ago at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, Zarco appeared to be chasing his first victory in the MotoGP class. In the free practice sessions, the Frenchman was very fast, and on Saturday afternoon he took pole position. In the race, the Prima Pramac Racing driver was in the lead, but on the fifth lap he slipped, resulting in the first win in the premier class.

John Zarco: “It’s good to be back in Austria. From Silverstone we only took the positives with me, I was able to quickly put the crash away because I didn’t feel bad about it. It was good to be in the lead, to be fast and have a good feeling with Ducati all weekend. It was the first time in a long time. It was good to get up to this level again and now I want to repeat it. I think it is possible and the machine can win pretty much where anyway, we just have to make the most of it ourselves.”

The first free practice for the MotoGP class at the Red Bull Ring starts on Friday morning at 09:55.

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