Who are the contenders to succeed Marc Marquez at Honda?

It’s anyone’s guess as to how HRC will replace the eight-time World Champion, but it seems there are some early frontrunners

The departure of Marc Marquez from Repsol Honda to Gresini Racing has left a void in one of MotoGP's most prestigious teams. As the racing world buzzes with speculation, we take a look at some of the names that have been linked with the vacancy as the hunt for his successor begins!

Johann Zarco

Let’s start with the French rider, who we already know will be riding an RC213V next season. The current Prima Pramac Racing star will switch to Japanese machinery once his contract is up having already signed a deal with independent team LCR Honda. However, some have mooted a potential jump up to the factory squad to replace Marquez.

His agent, Guillaume Valladeau, went the extra mile by travelling to Indonesia for discussions regarding his client's future: "It was important for me to meet with certain individuals at LCR and HRC to assess Johann's future, even though we currently have a contract with LCR Honda. However, we are also committed to HRC. Now that Marc Marquez has left, the question is who will replace him. Johann has expressed interest in riding for the official team. That said, I believe it's essential to consider everyone's interests in these discussions. It's not to be underestimated, so it was important for me to be here," he told Canal+.

The Frenchman himself opened up on the suggestions, citing that Marquez’ move to Gresini Racing could be a great opportunity for him, though he says no talks have taken place yet. 

Miguel Oliveira

The Portuguese rider has emerged as one of the early favourites, and the #88 has done little to dispel speculation during the weekend in Indonesia. On Thursday, he mentioned that "anything is possible" regarding a potential move, even though he still has a year remaining on his RNF contract. However, RNF Team Principal Razlan Razali contradicted this by denying the presence of any escape clause in his contract, saying, “There's no such thing as a clause that says that if he has a factory offer, he can leave Aprilia or RNF.”

It appears that there is a disagreement between the rider and the team boss regarding this matter. Oliveira responded directly to Razali's claim on Friday, stating firmly, "That’s not true."

You can read more on that HERE.

Maverick Viñales

Oliveira is not the sole Aprilia rider Honda has reportedly considered, as Maverick Viñales has also been mentioned as a potential replacement for Marquez. The #12 recently achieved a podium finish in Mandalika and is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished riders in the field, boasting nine race victories and 34 podium finishes. Much like Oliveira, Viñales did not entirely dismiss the possibility of a move and appeared somewhat flattered by the links, stating: “I think it is a scenario that every rider would love to be in. I know Honda is an amazing team but right now my mind is here.”

“The future will see. I have a contract but I don’t know. In this world, you never know anything.”

Fabio Di Giannantonio

The rider who will be succeeded by Marc Marquez at Gresini is currently battling to secure his future in MotoGP™ and seems to be eyeing an RC213V as his next goal. The Italian's recent string of impressive performances has only bolstered his prospects, notching consecutive top 10 finishes and even achieving a career-best fourth place in Indonesia, demonstrating his ability to perform at the elite level.

“The goal is to be in MotoGP. Honda have a seat available, it’s a good seat. It’s an iconic and historic team in MotoGP™ so it would be a good opportunity for me. Honda is such a big factory I don’t think this period of bad moments will continue, so for sure in the future, they will come back. So why not be the guy with that bike?”

The above four immediately stand out as the frontrunners for the seat, but there are also other options out there. WorldSBK's and ex-MotoGP™ rider Iker Lecuona has stood in at various times this season, while there is a rich talent pool to choose from in the Moto2™ class. It appears, however, that a rider with substantial premier class experience is the favoured choice, aligning with the Japanese brand's ambition to recapture past glories after a series of lacklustre seasons.

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