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Johann Zarco Calls for Fundamental Changes in Honda’s RCV ‘DNA’ After Le Mans Performance

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Johann Zarco: 'The fundamental nature of the motorcycle needs a transformation'

Johann Zarco: 'The issue is more profound, stemming from the bike's core… its fundamental nature requires alteration'

Johann Zarco matched his season's top performance with LCR Honda by finishing 12th in the French MotoGP at Le Mans on Sunday.

Although the leading local rider was content with his own showing, ending up as the top Honda rider following Joan Mir's crash right in front of him, he was also vocal about the essential alterations required in the core characteristics of the RCV.

"He mentioned, 'Achieving 4 points should be seen as a success. The initial goal is to complete the race and secure these points."

"We acknowledge that we're not in a position to contend at this stage, and we're okay with that. However, we continue to put in the effort as though we are aiming for a top finish, in order to maintain that sense of ambition

"I divided the performance throughout the entire weekend between the motorcycle and myself. Ever since Jerez, I've felt quite competitive. I'm very concentrated on my tasks, capable of making aggressive moves when needed, and this gives me great satisfaction.

"I'm eagerly anticipating the exclusive testing session at Mugello this coming Wednesday. I'll be briefed on the test's agenda on Tuesday. There was no necessity to discuss it over the race weekend."

In response to inquiries about whether he had experimented with a revised swingarm observed on Takaaki Nakagami's motorcycle over the weekend, Zarco clarified:

"Currently, that won't make much of a difference… Right now, it's merely a series of experiments aimed at gathering additional data on managing the [rear] grip."

"However, there's a more significant issue stemming right from the core of the motorcycle, from its very essence. To clarify, when I refer to the heart, I'm not talking about the engine in the literal sense, but rather the fundamental characteristics of the motorcycle need to evolve to rejuvenate our approach."

In 2023, Zarco set the fastest Honda lap with a time of 41 minutes and 50.518 seconds, outpacing Nakagami who completed the race in 41 minutes and 54.340 seconds, being the sole RCV competitor to cross the finish line.

On Sunday, the Japanese team clocked a remarkably similar time of 41 minutes and 53.735 seconds across the 27 laps.

Honda faced a challenge as the winning speed at the race significantly increased by 14.261 seconds, moving from Marco Bezzecchi's time of 41'37.970 in 2023 to Jorge Martin's faster completion of 41'23.709 in 2024.

A year earlier, Zarco had thrilled the local crowd by securing a top-three finish riding for Pramac, yet he sensed an even greater level of support from them on this occasion.

He expressed anticipation of encountering disappointment due to the Honda's challenging outcome, yet was pleasantly surprised by the increased support he witnessed. "It's truly heartwarming," he remarked, adding that this encouragement has fueled his drive to return in the forthcoming years.

Yamaha, with Alex Rins as their only rider to finish on Sunday, who also matched the speed of the M1 rider at Le Mans the previous year, will team up with Honda and their competing racers for a private test at Mugello.

Aprilia and Ducati, lacking the complete set of allowances, will solely feature test riders.

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