Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco crashed out of his home MotoGP race at Le Mans on Sunday due to the fear of being overtaken by riders behind him.
Frenchman Zarco, who claimed pole position after a record lap of 1:31.185s on Saturday, crashed out of Sunday’s race on the eighth lap at Garage Vert having been passed by race winner Marc Marquez on the previous lap.
In an interview afterwards, the 27-year-old Zarco explained that his fear or being overtaken had forced the error resulting in him crashing out of the race.
“I tried to follow and overtake Lorenzo [but] was almost impossible,” Zarco said. “I was losing too much time and I could find the pace, but it was difficult. I have to be more than 100 percent to think how to overtake him, and this made the race complicated for me.
“Marc overtook me and I could not wait behind the guys, because if not I’m [potentially] losing even more positions.
“That’s why I tried immediately to catch back the second place, but then in that corner, I came a bit too fast and the bike was still heavy with the fuel.
“I tried to lean to make the corner, but I crashed. I did not expect to crash, so it’s a shame with this French Grand Prix, home grand prix, all the crowd screaming my name.
“But I think it’s a good lesson because I should analyse better that maybe I can have the pace, but the situation means I have to push, I have to give the best, and I think there wasn’t enough margin to manage well.”
Having lost out on a first-ever MotoGP win, Zarco said he was even more motivated to chase that elusive maiden victory.
“I think I have every day more chance to think about victories,” he added.
“It’s difficult anyway, the Ducatis, the Hondas, Marc, they’re all so strong. So maybe it’s too much dream to think about victory.
“But I want to keep this mindset because it helps me also to push myself and to keep going up.”