Zarco set to replace Nakagami after Motegi MotoGP for rest of 2019

Johann Zarco is set to replace Takaaki Nakagami at LCR Honda for the last three rounds of the 2019 MotoGP season, Autosport has learned

Zarco set to replace Nakagami after Motegi MotoGP for rest of 2019

Nakagami is suffering from a similar shoulder problem to the one that afflicted Marc Marquez last season, and for which the world champion had surgery last December.

The fact that Marquez's recovery was slower and more complicated than expected has encouraged Nakagami to bring the operation forward to after his home race in Japan next weekend.

LCR team boss Lucio Cecchinello, therefore, requires a substitute rider, and it is thought almost certain that former KTM rider Zarco will take that role for Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.

Zarco has been on the sidelines since splitting with KTM last month.

His deal with the team was supposed to run to the end of 2020, but after struggling in the first half of the season the two parties agreed to separate a year early and then brought his exit even further forward.

LCR and Honda declined to comment on the situation, but a statement officially confirming Zarco's appearance is expected within the next few days.

Though Zarco is still under contract to KTM to the end of 2019, Pit Beirer - the head of its racing division - said recently that he would not prevent his outgoing rider from getting on a competitor's bike before '20.

Zarco had been expected to return to the Yamaha fold for 2020 in a testing role, having starred with its former satellite team Tech3 before his ill-fated KTM deal.

Honda had targeted Zarco for this season as potential team-mate to Marquez before he picked KTM.

The three races for LCR give Honda a chance to assess how Zarco would perform on its bike in competitive circumstances.

Honda currently faces a dilemma over Jorge Lorenzo, who is contracted to the works team alongside Marquez for 2020 but who has struggled badly since joining the team and shows no prospect of being able to turn the situation around at present.

Nakagami has long been expected to keep the LCR seat into 2020 but his deal has not yet been completed.

At Buriram last weekend he said the matter was "almost" sorted and he hoped to be able to announce it "as soon as possible".

shares
comments
Brazil to return to MotoGP calendar in 2022 at new Rio circuit

Previous article

Brazil to return to MotoGP calendar in 2022 at new Rio circuit

Next article

Espargaro: KTM's next rider must be willing to suffer in MotoGP

Espargaro: KTM's next rider must be willing to suffer in MotoGP
Load comments
The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano Plus

The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2021
Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Plus

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Autosport pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title Plus

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

MotoGP
Oct 19, 2021
How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda Plus

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda

There once was a time when Honda controlled any young rider who emerged in motorcycling, but its market dominance has now swung to the side of MotoGP rival KTM and, to a lesser extent Ducati. Could this development have significant ramifications for the future?

MotoGP
Oct 12, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Plus

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream” Plus

The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream”

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Plus

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Plus

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021