Johann Zarco says he was “right to have doubts” about the Avintia MotoGP squad at the end of 2019, after scoring pole and a third-place in the Czech Grand Prix.
Zarco took the team’s first pole on Saturday at Brno by over three tenths, before fending off Suzuki’s Alex Rins on the last lap to score its first podium and his first since Malaysia 2018.
The double Moto2 champion was offered a lifeline by Ducati at the end of last year to join Avintia, after he was dropped by KTM after Misano following his request to have his two-year deal terminated early amidst a miserable campaign.
When rumours of Zarco’s move to Avintia emerged during the Valencia GP weekend last year, he rejected them and said he’d rather return to Moto2 than go to what he considered wasn’t “a top team”.
With Avintia becoming an official Ducati satellite team for 2020 and receiving technical support, Zarco eventually agreed a deal to join the outfit.
Following his standout Brno weekend, Zarco believes he was right to hold reservations about Avintia.
“I was right to have doubts about the team last year because I was struggling a lot during the season and I didn’t want to struggle even more and they were not having high results,” Zarco explained.
“But, also they were like a private team, not a satellite team – it was not the same investment from Ducati and at this level everything is so expensive and all the parts on the bike, all details are so important.
“Now, Ducati is taking care of all these details in the team and we can see that all the Ducati technicians taking care, plus the mechanics are full of passion and they were working well.
“It was not bad work from the [Avintia] mechanics in the past that was missing [the team] the results, it was just that they were always very limited in budget and not having the best parts to compete.
“So that’s why they were struggling a lot.
“Now I’m just happy to offer them this good result.
“And all weekend it’s good satisfaction because a mechanic or a technician has a big passion, when his rider is doing well, all the team is even stronger.”
Zarco botched his launch off the line despite running Ducati’s holeshot device, and was sixth on the run to Turn 3 as a result.
Highlighting this as an area for improvement, Zarco says some mistakes during the race “confirmed the things” he has to do on the bike to get the maximum from it.
“The thing I learn is that I need to improve the start, it’s gonna be a huge help for the next races,” Zarco said.
“But some laps I was feeling good and catching the guys a lot into the corner, on the brake, and then feeling comfortable in the exit.
“And then some laps I was making mistakes.
“So it’s just… I cannot say I learned new things, but I confirmed again the things I have to apply perfectly on the bike to then be even stronger and control even better the race.”