MotoGP: Johann Zarco joins Castrol LCR Honda for 2024 season

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LCR Honda has confirmed the signing of two-time Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco for the 2024 MotoGP season.

The news comes days after Zarco’s upcoming departure from Pramac Racing Ducati was confirmed at the Austrian Grand Prix. The Frenchman has signed a two-year deal with LCR after being a member of the Ducati family since 2020.

Zarco has ridden for Lucio Cecchinello’s team before as a replacement for Takaaki Nakagami when the Japanese racer was injured in 2019. Zarco contested the final three rounds of that season with LCR Honda, securing a best result of 13th.

Since joining Avintia Ducati and then Pramac Racing, Zarco has secured 12 podiums and a best championship position of fifth in 2021. However, Zarco is yet to win a race in the premier class and is currently fifth in the 2023 standings, 35 points behind fourth-placed Brad Binder.

Johann Zarco onboard the LCR Honda at Phillip Island in 2019

“We are very excited to welcome Johann to the LCR Honda Castrol team with all the respective details and signatures now in place,” Cecchinello said. “It is a return to the team after we had some brief time together in 2019, where we could already see his potential and work ethic.

“There are still a lot of races and work to be done this season, but we are looking forward to the start of this new project in 2024.”

Zarco joins the Castrol-sponsored side of the LCR Honda garage, meaning that he’s a direct replacement for Alex Rins. The latter will leave the team after just one season after signing a deal to join Fabio Quartararo at Monster Energy Yamaha.

Rins is still recovering from a broken leg sustained at Mugello and has missed the last four rounds of the season. The Spaniard was victorious onboard the Honda RC213V at the Circuit of the Americas in April.

Meanwhile, both Marco Bezzecchi and Franco Morbidelli have been linked with the seat being vacated by Zarco at the end of the year. Bezzecchi is currently with Mooney VR46 Ducati but will remain on a year-old Desmocedici unless he makes the switch next season, whilst Morbidelli is searching for a ride after being dropped by Yamaha in favour of Rins.