Johann Zarco: “I’m lucky to arrive in this moment in Honda”

Johann Zarco impressed by new Honda RC213V at Sepang Shakedown: ‘I’m kind of lucky to arrive in this moment in Honda.’

Johann Zarco, Sepang MotoGP test, 3 February
Johann Zarco, Sepang MotoGP test, 3 February

The fastest Honda rider at the Sepang MotoGP Shakedown test was not from the factory Repsol team but new LCR signing Johann Zarco.

The Frenchman, who capped his final Pramac Ducati season with a debut victory at Phillip Island, finished third on the 13-rider timesheet, within 0.3s of the KTMs of Pedro Acosta and Pol Espargaro.

“It was so good to be back on the bike and as always difficult with the heat!” Zarco told the official MotoGP website. “I’m happy. Some good feelings that I got at Valencia I confirmed here and then we had time to play with the bike.”

Honda has not only revised the 2024 Valencia prototype but also brought a second, newer, bike.

“On my second day, we tried a new bike that was working even better and I got a good lap time,” Zarco said. “It’s a good first step and gives a lot of motivation to feel the improvements over the next few days.

“I think the potential is here because really the new bike was ‘born’ very well. I’m kind of lucky to arrive in this moment in Honda. I expect we will get still more improvements [during the Official test] so let’s see where we are when all the riders are here.

“Now we’ll keep working, keep trying some aerodynamic things and I think all the electronic side of the bike can improve. Small things that can do a big result.”

Joan Mir was sixth, Luca Marini eighth and Zarco’s team-mate Takaaki Nakagami tenth on the final day of the Shakedown.

The Honda and Yamaha race riders were able to take part in the Shakedown due to the revised concession rules.

The Official test, featuring all 2024 race riders, starts on February 6.

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