Johann Zarco was one of three "special guests" at the Jerez SBK test. A test that never actually came to fruition. Faced with weather conditions that were far from ideal, the KRT Provec, Kawasaki Orelac, Pedercini, Aruba Ducati, Go Eleven, Barni and HRC teams chose not to waste days that they could instead use in a more favourable situation.

Meanwhile, Michele Pirro and Zarco, unlike ‘deserter’ Maverick Vinales, rode during the afternoon of day two, the Italian aboard the Panigale V4 R, and the Frenchman with the V4S 1100. A few hours before he headed out, we had a quick chat with Johann: "I got to Andalusia by plane – he explains – while my two collaborators loaded the bike in the van, left France and came here via road. I want and need to ride, because I want to be ready for the MotoGP Sepang test”.

A test that will be fundamental, ahead of a season that sees the two-time Moto2 champion fly the Ducati Pramac flag: "I’m very pleased and very keen. I can’t wait to get started. We have a good team, Jorge Martin and I have three world titles between us, two in Moto2 for me and one in Moto3 for him. I’m sure we’ll both do well”.

WorldSBK, Rabat's Ducati features aerodynamic brakes from... Moto2

The more we ride, the better

Johann is already focused. He knows that 2021 is a year of possibility for him. For Ducati, the new MotoGP pairings represent the present, but also the future. Zarco comments on the factory line-up: "Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia are young and strong, a promising pair” and Pramac: "As I’ve said, Martin and I make a good pair, we’re going to have fun”.

Speaking of fun, and considering how the Frenchman is such a pure racer, we touch on a subject that wasn’t just a hypothesis in 2020: “Yes, there was a real chance I’d move to SBK – he confirms – but in the end it didn’t work out. I’d like a future in the production-derived paddock, because with three races per weekend, it’s three times the fun".

Physically and mentally, it would be very different to the single race GP format he is used to. But he doesn't think that would pose a problem: “I’ve very well prepared and trained – he points out – as are all the riders. The Superpole Race, on the limit from start to finish? Well, you’re on the limit in a MotoGP race from the first to the twenty-fifth lap, so I can’t really see any issues there”.

Translated by Heather Watson

MotoGP, Ducati continues to pursue the title: agreement with Dorna until 2026