Johann Zarco's three-race partnership with LCR Honda came to a scary conclusion when the Frenchman was hit by Iker Lecuona's bike while walking away from his own accident at the Valencia MotoGP season finale.

Famous for celebrating Moto2 victories with a backflip, Zarco was taken totally by surprise when he was literally sent head-over-heels by the sliding KTM.

Given the obvious similarities to Tito Rabat's leg-breaking accident at Silverstone last season, many feared serious injuries for Zarco, who was carried away on a stretcher.

Fortunately, the 29-year-old was later seen back in the LCR pits and has escaped any broken bones, but cannot move his ankle and suspects the ligaments are 'not good'.

Zarco began the race in 13th place and was up to eleventh, behind Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci, at the time of his fall on lap 14 of 27.

"At the beginning of the race it was difficult to fight with the others, once again I was with Pol - an anecdotal end to the season – but I quickly saw he was struggling with tyres and I could go faster so I overtook him," said Zarco, who has been replacing Takaaki Nakagami, while the Japanese recovers from shoudler surgery.

"But just one lap later I saw Petrucci crash. Immediately I thought 'keep the pace and maybe you can catch Valentino'. But just a few seconds after I was also crashing in this Turn 6.

"It was not exactly the same place as Petrucci, but I also lost the front, so maybe I lost a little bit of focus in that moment or maybe the conditions were a bit difficult."

Zarco explained that the sadness of falling from his final LCR race, combined with the possibility of re-joining, meant he didn't look behind as he walked away.

"I was so disappointed because I was feeling that I have 'lost' the last race I can do at the moment in MotoGP. So I was so sad about this situation, while also looking for the bike to see if maybe I can go again," he said.

"But the sadness didn't stay for long because I didn't check behind, I was walking to my bike and Lecuona's bike totally took me [out] and this was a big surprise. It was a really hard shock and immediately my left ankle felt strange. I could not move it and the way his bike hit me I was sure something was broken.

"Now it looks like the bones are all okay. Nothing broken. But the ligaments are maybe not good. I will have an [MRI scan] tomorrow I think."

What now for Zarco?

When Jorge Lorenzo announced his retirement on Thursday, the Frenchman was seen as the favourite to take over at Repsol Honda. But that ride has now gone to Alex Marquez (although still to be officially confirmed).

With French GP promoter Claude Michy and even Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta trying to help find Zarco a 2020 ride, another door seemed to open with rumours that a place might be made available at Avintia Ducati.

But after his KTM troubles, Zarco isn't willing to compromise on having a proven bike and team, saying he would rather return to Moto2 than join Avintia. Further gossip suggested Zarco might even be in the running for a Pramac seat, should Ducati reshuffle their factory line-up by promoting Jack Miller, but that appears to have gone cold.

With Zarco unwilling to go for the Avintia option, his remaining MotoGP chances look limited to the Yamaha test deal. But Zarco's most likely 2020 destination now appears to be Moto2, where he is tipped to take over from Alex at the Marc VDS Moto2 team.

"About the future, I don’t know," Zarco said. "At the moment I just have pain in my ankle and I want to fix it and do some good training at home. The doors look quite closed, that's a pity. But nothing is 100 percent sure at the moment. That's why I cannot say anything.

"But I do want to say thank you to Lucio Cecchinello and Honda, that I got a nice opportunity on the last three races to have this feeling back on the bike. The feeling that I like and the feeling that I feel I can grow up, I can work on myself and be back on the top level of MotoGP.

"This is priceless and I took away many doubts about myself that I had this year."

Zarco reiterated why he won't just take any available MotoGP option, has no regrets about splitting from KTM and seemed to have a subtle dig at Jorge Lorenzo for waiting until the final round to announce his retirement.

"Even if some [MotoGP] solution can be done, I will not take anything at any price because I don’t want to make the same mistake as one year ago [joining KTM]. Just for this reason, I will think well," Zarco said.

"I know it's still possible for me to do [well in MotoGP]. I know I didn't lose everything, even if I need to learn again and regain some good confidence. But now it's just time to wait a little bit, calm down after this weekend and we will see.

"I have no regrets about my decision from this summer because I've been lucky finally to be released by KTM earlier in the season and to have this opportunity with Lucio.

"And the way I've done it has been like a gentlemanly way, to say clearly and honestly to KTM that I don’t want to continue in 2020, early in the season, to give them the time to prepare for the future.

"I think this way was a good way because we can see this weekend that not everyone is acting in that way, even if they are champions. So just for this I prefer my way to go."

With Zarco's LCR colleague Cal Crutchlow also crashing out of the race, the only Hondas to finish were Marc Marquez in first and team-mate Lorenzo in 13th.

 

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