Johann Zarco at Honda: “Impressed with what Marc Marquez did, impossible for me”

“For me, it was impossible to do on the old bike," but Johann Zarco is excited by the '24 Honda

Johann Zarco with Lucio Cecchinello, 2024 LCR Honda livery
Johann Zarco with Lucio Cecchinello, 2024 LCR Honda livery

Johann Zarco has paid tribute to what Marc Marquez was able to achieve with last year’s Honda.

Zarco has unveiled his LCR Honda having switched from Pramac Ducati last season.

But after testing the ‘23 Honda, the worst bike on the grid which caused Marquez and co countless problems, he is left amazed by what the eight-time champion was able to do.

“I am so impressed with what Marc did with this bike,” Zarco said.

“He was the only one able to be in front.

“Even if he was crashing or could not finish the races well, he was always able to be fast.

“For me, it was impossible to do on the old bike.

“I have got this new bike. I’m playing with it, and that’s great.”

Zarco’s optimism comes from the 2024-spec Honda which he says is seven-tenths faster than a year ago.

“For me, yes. At least. So that’s great,” he said.

“It’s a pleasure to start a new chapter.

“The experience with the Ducati bike was amazing.

“I got, at least, one victory!

“But it seems the story with Ducati was written.

“It was nice to take a new challenge, a risky challenge clearly.

“From the moment I signed last August, I was not signing for the best bike.

“It will be tough to fight in front, and tough to accept to be far back in the classification.

“Ultimately, with the new bike, it seems that this won’t be the situation in the 2024 season.

“For this reason I am so happy.

“It’s a chance for me to write a new chapter, to get a new experience, to give good comments to Honda.

“If we do a good job like this, we fight for some podiums, that would be amazing.

“Why not? I want to keep on racing in MotoGP.”

Johann Zarco's 2024 LCR Honda livery
Johann Zarco's 2024 LCR Honda livery

Zarco’s arrival as a MotoGP veteran is in place of Alex Rins at LCR Honda.

But the notable change at the Japanese manufacturer is Marquez’s absence.

They have the opportunity to fight back with new concessions advantages and they hope that Zarco’s experience of developing bikes can aid them.

“Sure. They are changing the way of thinking,” Zarco said.

“The factory team will use the LCR team.

“We will have four factory bikes, as Ducati has been doing with the factory team and Pramac.

“I arrive at a good time to enjoy the benefit of it.

The bike is really new but already developing well.

“I need to trust that we can do it.

“I hope that I’m at the beginning of the development of a project.

“After the test in Valencia I went into the winter with high motivation that the project would work.

“Now, after the test in Malaysia, it is confirmation of the feeling I got in November.

“It brings confidence. You feel quieter, more calm, better serenity to go to a race weekend.”

His goal in 2024: “To be the top Honda would be good.

“Building results to stay in the top 10 would be good consistency for the work that we need to do.

“If I am the top Honda rider, it would be great.

Naturally you compare yourself with the same bike.

“To lead the other Hondas, it’s an advantage to develop the bike in my way.”

Zarco, aged 33, was finally able to win his first MotoGP race last season at Phillip Island.

He finished fifth in the standings, a career-best result.

But his challenge this year will be altogether different after leaving behind the factory Ducati bike, which was used by both Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin in the ‘23 title battle.

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