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Zarco not "scared" of losing riding style on Honda like in KTM MotoGP days

New LCR recruit Johann Zarco says he is not “scared” that he will lose his riding style while acclimatising to Honda’s MotoGP bike in 2024.

Johann Zarco, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

After four years on Ducati machinery across the Avintia and Pramac teams, Zarco joined LCR for 2024 in a two-year deal signed directly with Honda Racing Corporation (HRC).

It’s arguably the Frenchman’s biggest career move since he left Tech 3 Yamaha at the end of 2018 to join KTM, a switch that failed spectacularly and led to the pair parting ways even before they had completed their first season together.

But even though the philosophy of the Honda RC213V is vastly different to the Desmosedici he is accustomed to riding, as six-time champion Marc Marquez has found by switching in the opposite direction this year, Zarco is not worried about a repeat of the struggles he faced on the RC16 in 2019.

“I was scared when I moved from the Yamaha to the KTM,” he said. “That's why I quit KTM, [I was] really worried about losing my skill.

“I don't have this scare anymore because of what I learned in Ducati. I have so many references for myself that I can see the situation much better.

“Thanks to this I can really split my mind between, 'where can be the material [bike], where I am and where I can be'.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“It's a good question but thanks to my age and my experience, I know that I can trust the project. And almost, I would say wait [for results], because I have enough experience to not lose this confidence.”

Zarco has been able to mix with factory Honda duo Joan Mir and Luca Marini in the opening two rounds of the season and was even the top representative of the Japanese marque in the Qatar Grand Prix.

However, with Honda having not made as much progress as many had expected it to make over the winter, Zarco and his stablemates have been left to scramble for a spot in the lower reaches of the top 15.

But the 33-year-old feels he at least has a fighting chance against his rivals - and in a field that has closed up since his dreadful 2019 campaign with KTM.

“When I was in KTM I was not even able to fight,” he said. “And when I see now, okay it's a fight for 13th, 14th or 12th position, but now the level of everyone is so close.

“Even if we fight around the 12th position, [it] means something. So [it] doesn't mean we are out of the game.

“That's why it's really something. I'm happy to do this challenge because I will feel that I will not lose control of myself.”

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