Zarco: ‘Door closed’ on Yamaha test role

Johann Zarco pic: MotoGP.com

Johann Zarco says that the door has “clearly closed” on a potential Yamaha test role given he will ride an LCR Honda from next weekend’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

The Frenchman will fill in for Takaaki Nakagami at Phillip Island, Sepang, and Valencia, as the latter has been booked for shoulder surgery.

Zarco, who impressed on a Yamaha in his two years with Tech3, had been offered a role as a European-based test rider for the Iwata marque.

Speaking to French newspaper L’Equipe, he says he took up the LCR offer fully aware of that it would preclude him from linking up with Yamaha in 2020.

“It has clearly closed,” replied Zarco about the ‘door’ to the Yamaha test ride.

“Honda and Yamaha are two big rivals. I talked to each other 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.”

It has been speculated that Zarco’s ride with Honda’s only satellite MotoGP team is something of an audition for the factory team in light of Jorge Lorenzo’s ongoing struggles.

When asked if the LCR stint represents an opportunity to replace Lorenzo at Repsol Honda, Zarco stated, “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.”

Zarco achieved a single top 10 with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, from which he sought an early release from his contract and was then dropped before the end of the season.

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