Valentino Rossi revealed that Johann Zarco rejected a test rider role for Yamaha.
Yamaha had been trying to bring him in.
Rumours now say the Frenchman might be eyeing a role for Honda, instead.
Although Johann Zarco was highly expected to land a test role with the Yamaha factory, Valentino Rossi said revealed that the Frenchman has decided otherwise. There are rumours that Zarco may be eyeing a position in Honda instead.
The situation seemed to have changed since Zarco’s been called to replace LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami for the last three races of the season.
“It’s a shame,” Rossi told the media in Motegi, Japan. “It’s no secret that Yamaha was looking at Zarco for ten rider and he would have been important for us.”
“Now he’s close to Honda and we need to see what he decides to do for 2020, but it looks to me like we will have to find another fast test rider. It will be difficult to find someone like Johann.”
Indeed, Zarco has great experience in the Yamaha YZR-M1. He achieved six podium finishes and three pole positions in 2017 and 2018, while his ex-team Tech 3 Racing were tied to Yamaha. When Tech 3 moved to KTM, Zarco was promoted to the factory KTM team while his ex-teammate Hafizh Syahrin stayed behind in the Tech 3 KTM team.
But now rumours are starting that the French rider could be eyeing a position in Honda.
It is all due to Jorge Lorenzo’s lacklustre form in the Repsol Honda factory team. Honda had great hopes on the five-time world champion but the best he could achieve was 11th this year. There are also rumours that the manufacturer is not happy with the rider.
Lorenzo has said that he is not concerned about Zarco riding for LCR Honda beginning the Australian round, stressing that it is the satellite and not the factory team. Lorenzo’s contract runs through 2020.
It is without doubt that Zarco’s ride for LCR Honda will be considered an audition. Honda could extend a test role for Zarco next year, replacing Stefan Bradl. Bradl is reportedly working on the new CBR1000RR Fireblade which will contending for the WorldSBK title in 2020.