Zarco to replace Nakagami for final three rounds of 2019

Japanese rider will undergo shoulder surgery ahead of the 2020 season, with the Frenchman stepping in at Sepang, Phillip Island and Valencia

Due to Takaaki Nakagami’s premature end to the season because of a shoulder operation, the LCR Honda Idemitsu team will line up with Frenchman Johann Zarco for the remaining 2019 Grands Prix in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia.

The two-time Moto2™ World Champion and 2017 MotoGP™ Rookie of the Year has accepted the offer from Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello to get back on board a premier class machine, with Zarco jumping on board the Honda RC213V in Idemitsu colours for three races after Nakagami competes in his home Grand Prix in Japan.

Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “Obviously we are very sorry that Nakagami is forced to miss the last three races of this season, but on the other hand we know that injuries are part and parcel of this sport. I proposed to HRC Director Tetsuhiro Kuwata and Team Manager Alberto Puig the idea of engaging Zarco as our replacement rider and they gave me their approval. When I contacted Zarco he immediately showed interest and together we worked on every step of this project that will conclude in Valencia. From our side we will ensure maximum effort to support Johann, a rider who has shown immense talent and professionalism in his racing career.”

Johann Zarco: “What an opportunity to have the last few races of the season on the LCR Honda Idemitsu bike. I’m really thankful to have this chance, and I will do my best to pick up some good results and to enjoy the time, because these could be the last three races I can do for a while. I would like to thank KTM for releasing me so that I can do these races on another bike. Let’s see what I can do. First of all I know that I will enjoy the Phillip Island track, it’s a fast circuit and I think the feeling could be good. We’ll cross our fingers that it can be, and we will see what is possible. The target is to ride at a good pace, and rediscover some of the good feeling I’ve had before.”

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