Zarco: Honda deal has closed the door at Yamaha

Johann Zarco says the door to becoming a Yamaha test rider is "closed" after he accepted an offer to deputise for Honda man Takaaki Nakagami in the final MotoGP races of 2019.

Zarco: Honda deal has closed the door at Yamaha

After parting ways with KTM, Zarco made it clear that he was seeking a chance to join a different manufacturer as a test rider with no obvious race chances available for 2020.

The Frenchman was in negotiations with Yamaha, whose then-customer outfit Tech 3 he represented in 2017-18 before moving to KTM, with the aim of being able to make a handful of wildcard outings next season.

But those plans were thrown aside when LCR offered Zarco the opportunity to fill in for the injured Nakagami at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia this year.

Speaking to French publication L'Equipe, Zarco made it clear that accepting Honda's offer means he definitely won't return to the Yamaha fold.

“It has clearly closed," said Zarco of the Yamaha option. "Honda and Yamaha are two big rivals. I talked to each [of them] and made a choice, with full knowledge of the facts.

"I opted for the competition. It's up to me to be up to it. I’m not afraid, it's good adrenaline.”

Read Also:

Zarco added he isn't worried that the call-up to replace Nakagami will prove a poisoned chalice, given the Honda RC213V's reputation as a tough bike to ride.

"They didn’t call to win the last races," he said. "They’ve offered me this bike because I’m available. From my side, I just hope to find good feelings. And if I can’t make use of this material they will provide me, it will mean I don’t have my place in MotoGP.

"They give me three races, they give me a chance and I want to live it at the maximum. I took a risk leaving KTM, I can’t refuse now as they have throw me a lifeline.

"I know there is something to seek, I need to be up to it.”

Asked if he was told there could be a chance to replace the struggling Jorge Lorenzo at the works Honda team if things went well, Zarco replied: “No, they told me to make no illusion.

"I’m fully aware of the reality, even if we can think these three races will also be a test. I’m already very happy that I have been given this chance. I can’t wait to be in Australia.”

Yamaha team manager Massimo Meregalli indicated that, in light of Zarco's decision, the Iwata marque is set to retain Jonas Folger (pictured bottom) as its test rider for 2020.

Losing the chance to hire Zarco comes as a blow for Yamaha, Valentino Rossi admitted.

"It's a pity for Yamaha," said the Italian. "We were trying to have Zarco as a test rider, which was an important thing, but right now he seems closer to Honda.

"If he doesn't come, another good rider will have to be found. Perhaps difficult [to find one who is] at Zarco's level, but you have to find one that is strong."

Speaking to Canal+, Zarco said that finding a ride in Moto2 for the 2020 campaign would now be his priority in the event his LCR tryout leads nowhere.

"We'll have to work on another plan still, probably in Moto2," he said. "It may be better to do 20 races during the whole year and train with this aim of fighting for the win every weekend.

"It would enable me to stay much more in an intensity and in the pleasure of riding, instead of becoming a test rider and maybe start to turn myself off."

Jonas Folger, Yamaha Team

Jonas Folger, Yamaha Team

Photo by: MotoGP

shares
comments
Crutchlow: Zarco will "do better than people expect"

Previous article

Crutchlow: Zarco will "do better than people expect"

Next article

Marquez doesn't care "faster" Honda is harder to ride

Marquez doesn't care "faster" Honda is harder to ride
Load comments
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

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 Prime

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
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021