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MotoGP Thailand GP

Zarco says first MotoGP win makes 2024 Honda switch “even easier” now

Johann Zarco says winning his first grand prix last weekend in Australia will make his switch from Ducati to Honda for the 2024 MotoGP season “even easier”.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

After 120 grand prix starts, 33-year-old Zarco finally scored his maiden MotoGP victory in a thrilling Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island last Saturday.

The Frenchman had not won a race since the 2016 Valencia Moto2 finale, following his second title success in the class.

He will move to LCR Honda next season on a two-year deal, joining a manufacturer that – aside from its victory in Austin with Alex Rins – has struggled so immensely in 2023 that Marc Marquez has elected to break contract to join Gresini Ducati.

Asked ahead of this weekend’s Thailand Grand Prix if winning on the Ducati in his fourth season on the bike made his decision to leave for Honda harder, Zarco replied: “No, it will be even easier I think, like another chapter.

“And I see that still many things, from what I do, from what the others are doing on it.

“So, I learn from this. And clearly it will be a useful experience for the next two years.”

Zarco had come close on several occasions to winning in his first two years in MotoGP with Tech3 Yamaha, before joining KTM in 2019 stunted his progress.

He returned to being a semi-regular podium contender upon his switch to Ducati machinery from 2020, scoring 13 rostrums before finally breaching the top step.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Zarco likened his maiden MotoGP victory to the feeling of his first championship win in Moto2 in 2015, noting how both came with relief above all else.

“It’s really like the first title, like a feeling of ‘[relief that] this is done’,” he said. “And then you find this way to ride again, to perform, and to try to win again.

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“This one has maybe been the same feeling as the first title, because the first title is coming after many races and from a child until 25 years old you want to be world champion.

“And then you become world champion. So, it’s a long way to wait and like this one, 120 races.

“So, it was this feeling that it's similar to the [first] title. But I didn’t explode with joy, it was more ‘yes, this is done’.”

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