Moto2 champion Johann Zarco in line for 2017 Suzuki MotoGP move

Reigning Moto2 champion Johann Zarco could graduate to MotoGP in 2017 with Suzuki, regardless of whether Maverick Vinales decides to stay with the brand

Moto2 champion Johann Zarco in line for 2017 Suzuki MotoGP move

Zarco opted for a second season in the intermediate class and is fourth in the standings after this year's first five races.

Suzuki has put an option on the French rider for 2017, and Zarco will test its MotoGP GSX-RR in Japan and represent the brand in the Suzuka 8 Hour in July.

Even if Vinales chooses to stay with Suzuki and it also retains Aleix Espargaro, the firm is exploring supplying a satellite team and that could be Zarco's way into MotoGP.

Only factory Suzukis have run in the premier class in the modern era, but a move to join Ducati (supplying six satellite bikes), Honda (three) and Yamaha (two) in adding to its two official entries is being considered.

The LCR outfit, currently running Cal Crutchlow's Honda, is thought to be the leading candidate for a Suzuki satellite deal.

"I found with Suzuki the way to test the MotoGP [bike] in Japan with them and it's a nice opportunity," Zarco said.

"Also they asked me if I can do 8 Hours, it's an endurance race and I have never been so I said yes.

"It's good to try this race and be part of Suzuki for this, to do as well as possible and learn and hope to be with Suzuki in 2017.

"It's also part of the job this summer, to prove what I can do, and take this dream to go into MotoGP.

"We found something with Suzuki to test this summer but it doesn't yet mean I have a place with them for next year.

"But for sure they're not giving me this opportunity so I can be on another brand for next year."

Zarco is aiming to graduate to MotoGP as a double Moto2 champion - emulating Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa's 250cc feats - but has had a mixed start to his title defence, sitting 32 points behind leader Alex Rins.

A victory in Argentina and third in the United States have been offset by 12th in the Qatar opener following a penalty for jumping the start, then a disastrous home race, in which he crashed and eventually finished 24th.

"It's always competitive in Moto2 and there's no regrets over repeating Moto2 because I'm learning a lot," Zarco said.

"Now it's another target to be champion again, win races and when it's difficult it's the way you learn the most.

"[It's a] good experience, really working out and thinking how to get better, to be ready, to be champion again.

"If I can learn this I will be stronger for the future."

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