Zarco returned to factory rider status this year for the first time since quitting KTM after a disastrous 2019 after Ducati promoted him to Pramac from Avintia on full works-spec machinery.
The Frenchman scored four podiums from the first nine races – all of them second-place finishes – and currently sits second in the standings 34 points adrift of leader Fabio Quartararo.
Assessing the first half of his 2021 season, Zarco said: “It’s better than the expectations, better than what I could announce at the beginning of the season.
“But once you are there, you need to take this opportunity and it’s my final target to fight for the title and try to be world champion in MotoGP.
“So, if everything has to come now I have to be clever and go to take it.
“So, it’s better than what I was saying but I cannot rest myself just because it’s better.
“I need to just use this moment and take it, so I’m pretty happy.
“And If I just think about the title, I could be disappointed to lose points to Fabio [at Assen] but if I also think about the championship, I’m happy I gained on the riders that are just behind me.
“So, it was a good operation once again.”
Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Despite not winning a race in 2021 yet, Zarco is the leading Ducati rider in the championship – but admits this is immaterial to him as his main aim is to beat Quartararo.
“The goal is to stay ahead of Fabio, it is not to be the first Ducati,” he said.
“By going behind Fabio, I am the first Ducati, so that’s good but it’s not the main goal.
“With such a good position in the championship, the goal is to score more points and dream of being world champion.
“With [Jack] Miller and [Francesco] Bagnaia I understand each other very well and it means that there are three very good riders for Ducati who don’t fight each other.”