Zarco happy on troublesome 2017 Yamaha

Zarco happy on troublesome 2017 Yamaha
By AutoSport

16/11/2017 at 13:19

Tech3 rider Johann Zarco says he felt no "negative things" riding Yamaha's much-maligned 2017 bike for the first time in the Valencia post-season test.

Zarco used a 2016-spec bike to great effect in his rookie premier class campaign this year and began regularly outperforming the Yamaha factory riders in the latter stages of the season.

The 2017 works bike underwent many changes throughout the season, but retained an inconsistent level of performance and continued to struggle in wet and low-grip conditions.

Both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales reverted to the 2016 chassis during the final race weekend of the year in Valencia.

When Zarco got his first taste of the 2017 machine in the post-GP test on Tuesday, he was left feeling it was at least as good than his regular-season bike.

"I'm happy that I got a great feeling with the new bike, we did a great work with the team, simple things but I prefer to keep the work simple to have also a better information and better feedback," said Zarco, who finished the first day of post-season testing as runner-up to Vinales.

"I'm not surprised to not feel negative things, just happy that what I felt helped me to play even more on the bike.

"I was able to be fast with the old bike but sometimes spending [too much] energy, I think today I spent maybe 30%, less energy and that's so important to prepare for the race."

Asked what aspects of the 2017 bike were an improvement, Zarco said: "For me, I got better feeling on the brake.

"The bike was more stable and this helped me to prepare better my corner, and also to relax myself on the bike."

Yamaha is yet to confirm what bike specification will be available to Zarco and Tech 3 next year, although the marque's MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis has played down the chances of the Frenchman getting a 2018 works-spec bike.

Last month, Rossi suggested Zarco should turn down the 2017 Yamaha if offered, while Vinales reckoned it would cause the Frenchman "more problems".

But, following his first outing with the bike, Zarco was adamant Yamaha's late-season struggles coloured the perception of the 2017 machine.

"The factory riders got problems at the end of the year, then maybe were not able to solve the problem, that's why there are negative comments," he said.

"But they had during the season very good performance, so we cannot say the bike was bad.

"When we remember Valentino in Aragon, I think he did a great race and he was with the injury from the leg, so... if the bike was really bad, with the injury, he could not be in the front for almost all the race."