Apart from the person who started the conversation first - Lucio Cecchinello said he was contacted and Johann Zarco too - it is now established by admission of both the protagonists that the French rider has Honda as an alternative to the Ducati Pramac.
Obviously Johann's choice is not simple: on the one hand there is a super-competitive bike with which he has so far obtained 12 podiums from 2021 to today (he has 19 in total in MotoGP, ed.), on the other a two-year contract and a definitely higher fee for a 33-year-old rider, someone who is good, very good indeed, but who hasn't yet won a GP in the premier class, that has its importance.
It's not that at 33 a rider is already thinking about retirement, but Johann, who is doing very well at Pramac, would like something more today.
And this despite being in perfect harmony with the owner of the team, Paolo Campinoti and with his hobby of karaoke which sees the French rider as a singer and self-taught multi-instrumentalist at the parties organized by the likeable owner of the Siena-based team.
And this something more is a two-year contract, or a retainer fee that confirms him in the dual role of rider and second test rider of all the new created produced by Gigi Dall'Igna that demonstrates how much his work at Ducati is appreciated.
Unfortunately, however, this is not arriving, and the reason is clear: the Tuscan team is working as a 'nest' for future arrivals in the official team and now more than ever, given that at the end of 2023 all the contracts will expire, there is a need to leave a place vacant. This is the reason why Zarco has started contacts with Honda (or allowed himself to be contacted).
The problem is Marco Bezzecchi: for him there is no official bike for 2024, because under the contract only Pramac can have them, and Ducati has no intention of producing a fifth one.
There is also the age factor, and the riders Johann competes with are ten years younger than him.
Furthermore, there is a matter of time: Ducati must decide by the Austrian GP what to offer Bezzecchi, and it must be something attractive, a two-year contract in fact, because in 2024 Marco will certainly be on the Yamaha list whose, no mystery, priority is to wrest the VR46 team away from Ducati.
On the other hand, the technical situation will not remain frozen in the future. Honda will undoubtedly improve next year, as will Yamaha. Then there's KTM which now already has too many riders, but in 2025, like Aprilia, moreover, could be interested in Bezzecchi.
Now Marco wants a factory Ducati, and he deserves it, but to get it he just has to say yes, switch to Pramac and leave VR46. Otherwise, he will have to settle for a GP23... and a half like the one that helped Bastianini to arrive in the official team in 2023.
Since Bastianini has a contract that is also valid for 2024, perhaps this is the wisest decision because Enea won four GPs with a bike of this type and finished third in the world championship, while every year the latest prototype always has some setup problems.
By accepting Ducati's offer of an updated GP23, Bezzecchi would in any case ensure himself two years of a high-level future, would allow VR46 to gain even more credit as an emerging team and would make everyone happy. Perhaps even Zarco who might decide to resist the Honda siren.
For this reason, it's not Zarco who must decide whether to move to Honda, but Bezzecchi who has to say whether he wants Johann's place or not. Only if he doesn't want to, will the French rider’s decision be difficult to make.
We won't have to wait long to find out: Ducati wants to have this aspect cleared up by the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring.