MotoGP

Zarco not going to WorldSBK… and he wants to make it clear!

Johann Zarco brands Honda World Superbike rumours as 'bullshit' and suggests someone should lose their job for suggesting he is...

JOHANN ZARCO has condemned stories emerging in the last two weeks linking him to a potential switch from KTM MotoGP to join Honda in the World Superbike Championship next season, calling the rumours 'bullshit' and saying someone should 'lose their job' for suggesting it.

Considered a future MotoGP World Champion as recently as last year as he battled for wins on the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha, Zarco joined the factory KTM team on a two-year deal from 2019.

However, it has been a trying start to life with the Austrian manufacturer - itself only three years into its big budget MotoGP project - with Zarco being comfortably out-performed by team-mate Pol Espargaro and suffering a series of high-profile crashes

As a result, Zarco has been front and centre of the early 'silly season' rumours despite what we can assume is a lucrative multi-year contract, with a rival publication (well, newspaper...) going as far as to suggest he could make a shock switch to World Superbikes to join Honda's burgeoning HRC factory effort. 

However, after the unsubstantiated story ended up on the official Dorna-run WorldSBK website, Zarco made his opinion about said rumours very clear, dismissing them before calling out Dorna for repeating them.

"The one who gave this information, I don't know who, should lose his job because it is really bullshit," he said

"I never spoke with Honda at any time, there is not even a picture that can show it and this information comes [out] like this.

"I don't know from where it came. It looks like it came from the official website or Twitter of WorldSBK put it and they removed it.

"It was strange. I said to Carmelo [Ezpeleta] ‘this is a big, big mistake’ because it can put me in trouble with KTM and that is not good."

Indeed, six races into a MotoGP deal means any suggestion of ending it earlier seems premature even before you consider just how much KTM (or Red Bull...) would need to pay to buy him out of his deal to allow him to go to WorldSBK. Moreover, with Honda struggling in WorldSBK itself, it's highly unlikely Zarco - given his KTM situation - would want to jump from the frying pan and into a different fire that probably pays less.

That said, there is some truth to the wider story here.

Indeed, while the final form of HRC's return to WorldSBK is yet to be finally determined, high-level sources have confirmed to our sister publication Crash.net that an all-new bike is being prepared for 2020, which could form the basis of four bikes across two teams (one full HRC team, the other a Moriwaki Althea effort in line with what is competing in 2019)

It is understood HRC is keen to secure the services of a high-profile MotoGP rider to echo the success of Alvaro Bautista at Ducati, with considerations spread across a number of key MotoGP individuals both current and former, not just Zarco. Having been sworn to secrecy, we'll just have leave you to guess who these may be...

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