Marquez's mother asked Zarco to be careful
Johann Zarco says he was asked by Marc Marquez's mother ahead of Sunday's Valencia MotoGP title decider to "take it easy" and not risk a collision with the eventual champion.
Marquez and Zarco qualified first and second for the Valencia Grand Prix, in which Marquez only needed 11th place to beat Andrea Dovizioso to the 2017 title.
Zarco and Marquez battled for the lead for most of the race, with Marquez admitting that his late mistake that nearly resulted in a crash was caused primarily by the fear of a collision with Zarco.
But Zarco said he "took it easy" during the race, as Marquez's mother had specifically asked him to.
"His mum told me yesterday, 'please Zarco, take it easy'," said Zarco.
"I was just going to my bed and was on my scooter and she was walking and she said, 'Zarco, take it easy'.
"I said, 'yes I will listen, don't worry'. But finally, Marc listened even more to his mum."
After Marquez fell back due to his error, Zarco and Dani Pedrosa were left fighting for the win, with Pedrosa making the decisive move at the start of the final lap.
Despite missing out on a maiden MotoGP win by three tenths of a second, Zarco said being disappointed "would be the wrong way" to reflect on the race.
"I must be happy, to be disappointed to miss the victory would be the wrong way to analyse the race," he said.
"I had the elements in my hands to believe in the victory and I took them.
"I believed until the last corner that maybe I can attack.
"The best thing is to believe you can win until the end, and I think it is really enough for this season."
Pedrosa: Marquez's save "amazing"
Race winner Pedrosa, who took fourth place in the standings off Valentino Rossi with his victory, praised Marquez for managing to stay on his bike during his near-crash.
Marquez's left knee and elbow were touching the asphalt as he lost the front of his Honda at the first corner, moments after he passed Zarco for the lead.
Miraculously, he managed to regain control and kept running despite having to run through the gravel.
That incident did not have a major effect on Marquez's title hopes, as he rejoined in fifth and eventually finished third following crashes for Ducati pair Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.
"It was amazing to see it from behind," said Pedrosa of Marquez's save.
"You could see the black line, you saw his position and the smoke, the speed, he is like... 'phew!'
"But then at the same time, you see that he is not crashing.
"It was so amazing to see the save in person."