Manuel Pecino Photos courtesy/ Rafael Marrodán
He has practically disappeared off the map. After a powerful start to the championship that led him to two seconds in Argentina and Jerez and to appear at Le Mans as the top favorite for victory, Johann Zarco seems to have dissolved like snow in the heat.
After a tremendous disappointment crashing in the race in France, the result of the enormous pressure of having an entire country counting of him, his best result has not gone beyond a seventh place. And after having been a fixture on the first row of the starting grid, following Le Mans his best classification was two eighths, one in Catalonia and one in Holland; in Sachsenring he was outside of Q2.
The reason for Zarco’s plummeting performance should not be attributed exclusively to technical causes.
It’s no secret that the satellite bikes lose competitiveness as they develop the factory motorcycles, it happens every year. But the reason for Zarco’s plummeting performance should not be attributed exclusively to technical causes. Nor in an institutional “abandonment” by Yamaha once it was learned that the French rider will be a KTM man next year, because there was never support, not even when he was nearly winning.
The reasons for Zarco’s disappearance are much more in his head, in the problems that Johann is going through with his relationship with the person who was effectively his father and the person who developed and trained him as a rider, the man who took him by the hand from nothing to MotoGP: Laurent Fellon.
Losing the opportunity to join HRC has not fallen on deaf ears.
What was a tight union until a few months ago is by now completely broken.
The cause of this sad situation probably ignited from the offer that came from Honda to replace Dani Pedrosa on the factory team. An offer that could never be considered because, at the hands of his manager Felon, Zarco had been committed to KTM months earlier. At the time, Johann defended that decision, but inside losing the opportunity with HRC did not fall on deaf ears.
A total breakdown of relations with his manager, and some how his putative father, has all the signs that it will end up in the courts.
There are other episodes that reveal Fellon’s limitations as manager of a MotoGP rider; Johann understood them that way. If until now Felon has managed his riding and his sportive career, now he needed a more professional manager. But how could Zarco let him know without offending him? He owed Fellon a lot. This reasonable concern has reached a total breakdown of relations, which has all the signs that it will end up in the courts. And for a rider with emotions such as Zarco demonstrates, this situation is undoubtedly affecting him when he gets on the bike.