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Zarco ‘would be proud’ to help turn Honda around amid LCR offer

by Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pramac Ducati rider Johann Zarco says he “would be proud” if he could be the person to turn Honda’s MotoGP programme around, amid the prospect of him moving to LCR for 2024 so that Ducati can promote Marco Bezzecchi.

Zarco is fourth in the world championship, but a Ducati exit looks increasingly likely despite his strong form.

As Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti exclusively explained to The Race at Silverstone, Ducati is adamant it will only field four 2024-spec machines next season – two at the factory team and two at Pramac – which means to promote 2023 title contender Bezzecchi (currently on a 2022-spec bike at VR46) onto a top-spec Desmosedici requires moving Zarco out of Pramac to make way for him.

But with Alex Rins leaving LCR Honda to replace Franco Morbidelli at Yamaha, it seems there’s a natural place for Zarco to step into, especially as Honda could use his extensive MotoGP knowledge to help rebuild its ailing project.

Ciabatti even went as far as to say it was common knowledge that Zarco had had discussions with and even an offer from LCR.


Experienced on Yamaha, KTM, Ducati and (briefly) Honda bikes so far during his eight-year career in the premier class, double Moto2 world champion Zarco would bring a lot to the table for Honda.

Zarco didn’t directly confirm the LCR offer when speaking about his future at Silverstone today, but intimated he would be happy to join Honda given its historic MotoGP pedigree, while also suggesting his first priority is of course to continue with the currently dominant Ducati organisation as he continues to chase his elusive first MotoGP victory.

“It’s hard to think about this and to know,” said Zarco.

“If you think about victory, first you have to fight in the top positions as I’ve been doing now for a few years.

“The place to be at the moment is in Ducati because it is the best bike, and you can see that on the track.

“If this option has to go further, [to join LCR] is not a crazy idea because it is still Honda.

“To have Honda come to you and say that we want you as an experienced rider – it is not a crazy idea, if this happens.

“But at the moment, my results are also good enough to think about Ducati, at Pramac and on the factory bike.”

One potential draw of a Honda switch for Zarco would be the chance to atone for his failed KTM move in 2019.


After starring on a Tech3-run Yamaha in his first two MotoGP seasons, he earned a two-year factory KTM contract but split with the project after a miserable first half-season on what was then a relatively new RC16 machine still playing catch-up with MotoGP’s established designs.

Asked about the possibility of helping Honda rediscover its form, Zarco quickly referred to things going wrong for him at KTM.

“I would be proud to be this guy,” he said of contributing to Honda, “because I couldn’t make this work well in KTM even if my information was good.

“The way I was leaving, with bad results, I wasn’t ready to be in this position and I had to take the decision to come to Ducati.

“But in case I have to make this kind of choice now, the maturity is not the same, and as I say: why not?”


Zarco’s first post-KTM chance was actually with LCR Honda, where he replaced the injured Taka Nakagami for the final three rounds of 2019 before making his switch to Ducati with an initial seat at the Avintia team.

It seems Ducati’s ideal scenario would be to switch Zarco to World Superbikes as a long-term successor to Ducati’s currently dominant champion Alvaro Bautista, promote Bezzecchi to Pramac and fill his VR46 seat with Morbidelli (a long-time Valentino Rossi protege).

“It’s not a secret that we think he could be a perfect World Superbike rider for a factory Ducati team in the future,” Ciabatti told The Race regarding Zarco, “once Alvaro will decide to stop, which probably will be end of next year when he will be turning 40.

“So we think for his riding style, his size, his talent, he would be perfect.

“It doesn’t look like Johann is interested, to be again totally transparent and honest.”

And Zarco himself made that very clear as he mused his future at Silverstone on Saturday.

“We must keep the [MotoGP] options going,” he said, “because I am not going to Superbikes!”

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