Johann Zarco’s decision to leave Pramac Ducati and take on the Honda challenge with LCR didn’t rid the Borgo Panigale constructor of a problem. It actually created one. And a big one: finding a rider to replace Fabio Di Giannantonio on the Gresini team.
What they actually didn’t understand until now is that Ducati had already decided to transfer Morbidelli to Pramac, moving Zarco into the Gresini team instead of Di Giannantonio.
This was Gigi Dall’Igna’s plan when the head of Ducati Corse found out that Marco Bezzecchi would remain in the Mooney VR46 team.
So, yes, the offer made to Zarco for another year in the MotoGP, plus a second year in the Superbike in place of Bautista, was true, but he kept silent about the fact that the French rider would have to move to the Gresini team.
This is at least what we got from what Zarco explained. He usually doesn’t speak much, but when he does, he never says things for granted.
His interview with Crash revealed this.
“Ducati gave us the chance to do another year, but without the certainty of being able to stay with Pramac,” Zarco confirmed. “Then Honda was interested, and they offered me two years. If it wasn't sure I'd be staying with Pramac, I didn’t want to be with another team, even if Ducati remains the best at the moment.”
If he hadn’t accepted Lucio Cecchinello’s offer, Johann would’ve had to bid farewell to the future Desmosedici GP24 and ride a year-old bike.
“As a sportsman, at thirty-three, it’s something to think about because, in the past three years, I always had a one-year contract, a one-year contract ... but, after five or six races in 2024, we’ll already be stressed for the future. So, if I had to change teams, I’d be better of with another project. And have two years.”
This puts an end to all the illusions about the motivations that led Zarco to reach his decision that, seen this way, is perfectly logical and, therefore, as we suspected, only marginally linked to a better economic offer.