Johann Zarco is still looking for victory in MotoGP: what if he suffered from a French disease?

Johann Zarco is still looking for victory in MotoGP: what if he suffered from a French disease?

All series have an end. Let’s wish Johann Zarco that the one he started a little over a month ago, at the French Grand Prix, stretches one more weekend. At Le Mans, the Pramac driver was ranked fifth. He finished fourth at Mugello two weeks later. Then third, in Catalonia. And finally second in Germany.

No need, therefore, to specify where we are coming from. Zarco is still chasing after his first victory. It is both a statistical anomaly, since no other driver than him has more podiums (15) without ever having won. It is also a strangeness if we simply take into account his trajectory, his work and his talent.

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The Cannois sometimes went very close. At Le Mans, Valencia (2017), Argentina (2018) or even Catalonia (2021), the double world champion lost for a few hundredths. The vain attempts exist and are more and more numerous. So much so that this purpose can no longer really be just a coincidence.

We are formatted to appreciate each other according to a result

But then, is Zarco simply creating a “psychological blockage”? “It’s something that can existconfirms Thomas Sammut, mental trainer who has worked with many great athletes in recent years. This does not mean that the athlete is not mentally strong. Simply that it does not follow the right pattern to go to the end of the performance.”

Impossible, indeed, to question the resilience of the Frenchman, double Moto2 world champion and now world No. 3 in MotoGP after being pushed out in 2019. “In France, there is a major problememphasizes Thomas Sammut. We have an education and a culture that do not teach us to know ourselves or to flourish as individuals. We are formatted to appreciate ourselves according to a result. At school, we have a grade. And we appreciate or depreciate according to the result.”

Johann Zarco, Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo on the podium of the German Grand Prix, June 19, 2022

Credit: Imago

If Zarco still hasn’t taken his first victory, it may simply be because he is… Zarco. Namely, a pilot apart, with an atypical career. He was not predestined to become one of the best pilots in the world and was never enrolled by the champion factories that are the Spanish or Italian schools, even if he sometimes crossed the transalpine border, during his adolescence. , to rub shoulders with the best.

This observation is valid in all disciplines.adds the mental trainer. For 95% of high-level French athletes, the brakes preventing them from freeing themselves completely are linked to our culture. We tend to underestimate ourselves because we grow up through an idea that could be schematized as ‘I’m not doing good enough’. We come to tell ourselves that whatever we do, it will never be enough compared to others. You have to know how to make a self-criticism without falling into negative excesses. That’s really a kind of heritage. And it’s limiting.”

Quartararo escaped it

It is not Zarco himself who will say the opposite. Very rational and precise in his technical approach, the French driver also fights against himself mentally. “I quickly tend to self-flagellate and say to myself: ‘What you are doing is not good, it is bad, it is bad’“, he confided in a documentary Canal+.

Quartararo, for example, never had this problem, while the question of a psychological block also arose in 2019, after several races where he had stumbled on Marc Marquez. He is of Italian origin, competed in his first races in Tuscany before moving to Spain at the age of 13. “I am French, but I speak better Spanish… and I think in Italian“, he said a few years ago. And that changes everything.

I can give you another fairly explicit exampleadds Thomas Sammut. I worked with Patrick Vieira in Nice and I asked him a very simple question. If France won the Football World Cup in 1998, was it because the vast majority of players no longer played in France? He answered me cash: ‘Of course’.

To break the glass ceiling, there is a solution: “On the one hand there is the man formatted by a whole environment in which he has always evolvedanalyzes the specialist. And on another, the pilot who would like to act in a certain way. It is necessary to succeed in identifying its method of use in relation to performance. Once it’s done, you can break out of the mold and realize that you are unique. And that there is only one very personal method that suits everyone. The idea is to find this method and duplicate it ad infinitum.” A different kind of series.

Johann Zarco (Ducati Pramac) at the German Grand Prix

Credit: Getty Images

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