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MotoGP Australian GP

Zarco rules out Repsol Honda move to replace Marquez in MotoGP

Johann Zarco has all but confirmed that he will not be replacing Marc Marquez in the factory Honda team for the 2024 MotoGP season.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

The Frenchman instead expects to ride with LCR for the next two seasons, having signed to make the move to the satellite Honda team from Pramac Ducati earlier this year.

Zarco admission follows the revelation that Honda is pursuing current RNF Aprilia rider Miguel Oliveira as Marquez’s replacement at the works Repsol squad.

Ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, Zarco confessed he viewed himself as the most likely choice to fill Gresini Ducati-bound Marquez’s spot, but suggested the Japanese manufacturer had a different view of the situation.

“I really thought I would be the natural candidate, but there are many other reasons that it didn’t turn out ‘naturally’,” Zarco said.

“It’s not bright to be in the factory team just because the seat is free. I have to be there because they wanted me. 

“At the moment Marc said ‘no’, I expected much more enthusiasm from Honda and the factory team to push for this.”

 

Zarco also acknowledged that LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello would be loath to lose the rider he has signed for 2024, and that by staying with the satellite team he has more chances of being able to extend his MotoGP career beyond next year.

“It’s logical that Lucio wants to work with me, because I am fighting for the top five in the championship, and for him it can motivate his sponsors,” said Zarco.

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“It’s better to really see [through] this project with Lucio and Honda, than try to be in the factory team for just one year. Maybe it can be more interesting for the salary if you have a two-year project, than if you just put in energy for one year.”

Oliveira confirmed last week in Indonesia he had an “approach” from Honda about the possibility of replacing Marquez, but stressed he had not yet had a concrete offer.

Asked for an update on the situation on Thursday, the Portuguese rider said: “Nothing else to add on my side. If that [an offer] comes, I will have more to say.”

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