Johann Zarco, Loved and Hated
– The distance between Ducati factory rider Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) in the drivers' standings is now only two points adrift.
The result cannot be separated from the role of Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati).
In the last three laps, the French racer became the fastest racer on the track. Indeed, he had a great opportunity to overtake Bagnaia and finish on the third podium of the Thai GP.
However, Zarco did not want to do that. He seemed to be trying to block Marc Marquez who had been chasing Bagnaia since the middle of the race.
The incident at the Buriram Circuit was very different from what happened to Bagnaia in Misano (4/9) and Aragon (18/9).
At that time, the Gresini Ducati racer Enea Bastianini still invited Bagnaia to fight openly. Because of that, Bagnaia immediately thanked Zarco.
“Thanks to Johann (Zarco) who didn't want to take any risks at the end of the race. He told me it was because I was fast and strong on the brakes.”
“If you insist on overtaking, the risk is too big. For that, once again I want to thank him,'' Bagnaia said.
In fact, with the provision of the fastest lap time recorded by Zarco in the last laps at Buriram, the 32-year-old racer actually has a chance to win his first career in MotoGP.
In his six seasons in MotoGP, to date Zarco's best achievement is being runner-up . That is, ten times.
Zarco said that finishing in fourth place at the Thai GP (2/10) had satisfied him.
He added, the new dry racing line was evident in the last three laps. It's still too narrow for safe overtaking .
If the track dries up faster or around the last six laps, Zarco admits he will be braver to fight and push until he gets Miguel Oliveira's (KTM) pole position.
''The conditions are too difficult. In a position like that, to be able to finish the race is already a satisfaction,''said Zarco reported Crash .
The 2015 and 2016 Moto2 world champion added that had he approached Bagnaia two laps faster, he might have dared to try to overtake Pecco – Bagnaia's nickname.
However, with only three laps remaining at the time, he felt the decision to stay behind Bagnaia until the finish was for the best.
Zarco also admitted that at that time he remembered what Ducati General Manager Gigi Dall'Igna said to him before the Misano race.
At that time Dall'Igna gave directions regarding Ducati's desire for their other riders to help Bagnaia become world champion this year.
Zarco said Dall'Igna promised not to give the team an order that would prevent other Ducati riders from winning in the remaining races of the season.
However, if in a position to fight with Pecco only for fourth or fifth position, Dall'Igna hopes that other Ducati riders will give that position to Pecco.
"I want to take a risk when the one in front of me is Marc (Marquez). However, I do not want to do it when in front of me is Pecco,''said Zarco.
As a result of his decision, Zarco was heavily criticized by fans. He is considered not to love his country, France, and prefer business interests.
Namely securing his contract in MotoGP next season.
What is meant by defending his country is helping Fabio Quartararo, his own compatriot.
As is known, the race for the 2022 MotoGP world title is currently being fought for by Pecco and Quartararo.
If Zarco overtakes Pecco, of course the distance between the two points is still quite wide. Not two points.