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“Honda a risky challenge, factory to work more closely with LCR” - Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco says he is targeting the overall top ten and status as top Honda rider when the 2024 MotoGP World Championship season gets underway following the unveiling of his LCR Honda RC213V machine.

The Frenchman makes one of the more intriguing team swaps over the winter after ultimately turning down the chance to stay with Pramac Ducati in favour of joining the satellite team of the manufacturer that finished fifth and last in the overall standings.

Zarco is the highest-placed returning rider competing with a different team for 2024, his move to Honda having been motivated by Ducati’s rather blatant attempts to lure Marco Bezzecchi into his Pramac seat. When that failed, Zarco had already agreed terms with Honda.


Speaking after the launch of his Castrol-backed LCR machine, Zarco accepts he has taken on a challenge by ditching the title-winning machine for one that has struggled to perform over the last four seasons.

However, he says he accepts the risk and instead sees it as a chance to help the manufacturer grow in a different direction following the coincidental exit of its six-time MotoGP title-winning talisman, Marc Marquez.

“It is a real pleasure to start a new chapter, because the experience I had with Ducati has been amazing and I got at least one victory, but it seems serving [the chapter] Ducati was written and it was nice to take another challenge, a risky challenge.

Having sampled the 2024-spec Honda RC213V in Valencia and Sepang, Zarco is confident the manufacturer is not heading for a similarly disappointing season compared with last year.

“Clearly from the moment I signed last August I’m not signing for the best bike and it will be tough to fight in front and it will be tough to accept to be further back in the classification.

“Fortunately, it seems with the new bike, it won’t be the situation for the 2024 season and for this reason I am so happy and it is a chance to write a new chapter, get a new experience, use what I learned before and also give as well good comments to Honda and if we do a good job like this and we can fight for some podiums, that will be amazing.

“I am thinking in general inside the top ten and if that brings me top Honda rider, then that would be good.”

While there was initially some talk of Zarco being ported into the factory Repsol Honda Team upon learning of Marquez’s departure, the Australian MotoGP winner is not worried about being assigned satellite status, insisting the two teams will work more closely in 2024.

“Honda are changing the way of thinking and the way of doing [development]. They have the factory team but Honda are going work more closely with the LCR team, so there are really four factory bikes as Ducati has been doing with Pramac. I am arriving at a good time to enjoy this and use the benefit of it.”

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