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HomeMotorsportsJohann Zarco rides Suzuka 8 Hours: Why he said yes to Honda

Johann Zarco rides Suzuka 8 Hours: Why he said yes to Honda

2024An active MotoGP rider, Johann Zarco, will once again compete in the Suzuka Eight Hours – He can imagine a future in the endurance scene

Honda has won the prestigious Suzuka Eight Hours for the past two years. In 2022, the driver trio was Takumi Takahashi, Tetsuta Nagashima and Iker Lecuona. In 2023, the two Japanese riders were joined by Xavi Vierge

2024 the race will take place on the weekend of July 17-21. On the same weekend, the Superbike World Championship will be held in Most in the Czech Republic. On the other hand, the MotoGP is on summer break during this period.

Johann Zarco has therefore decided to tackle the classic in Japan for the first time. Alongside the Frenchman, Takumi Takahashi and Teppei Nagoe make up the trio of riders for Honda. Should the team win, Takahashi would be the new record winner with six triumphs.

The last active MotoGP rider to win Suzuka was Pol Espargaro in 2016 with Yamaha. Now Zarco is taking on this challenge. The calendar situation makes it possible this year.

“I didn’t expect to ride the eight hours this year,” says the Frenchman. “Even before Honda asked me, the media asked me because the race takes place on the same weekend as the Superbike World Championship.”

“So it would have been logical for Honda to ask me. In the end, they asked me and I said yes. It’s a race that I’ve always wanted to ride. So why not this year?”

“The problems in MotoGP make for less pressure. The energy on a race weekend is always at its maximum, but I can also enjoy something different. It will be a new experience. I will spend this vacation week in July in Japan and ride a good Superbike. “

Zarco’s LCR teammate Takaaki Nakagami will not be in Suzuka. He has competed in the eight hours in the past and won in 2010 with his compatriots Takumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kiyonari.

Why is Nakagami not riding with Zarco and Takahashi this time? “I’ve already raced there three times. To be honest, that’s enough,” waves Nakagami off. “I prefer MotoGP. For me, the priority is to concentrate on MotoGP in order to be competitive.”

Zarco will celebrate his 34th birthday on the Suzuka weekend. Following the retirement of Aleix Espargaro, he will be the oldest rider in the MotoGP field next year. It will be his second and, for the time being, last year under contract with Honda.

Could Zarco imagine a future in the World Endurance Championship (EWC) and also race the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Bol D’Or? “I will certainly ride the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Le Castellet one day,” he hints.

“But not during my MotoGP career. But it’s certainly a great experience for a rider. There are also a lot of French people in the endurance racing scene. It will certainly be a nice experience.” Zarco thus outlines his ideas for his future



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