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Johann Zarco Eager to Conquer Suzuka 8 Hours: MotoGP Star Joins Elite Line-Up for Endurance Classic

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Johann Zarco Enthusiastic About Suzuka 8 Hours | Guintoli: “Thrilled to Share Track with Him”

Johann Zarco aims to join the ranks of MotoGP champions who have triumphed at the Suzuka 8 Hours.

As MotoGP pauses, Johann Zarco from LCR Honda will travel to Japan to participate in the 45th annual Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race.

While Honda's MotoGP endeavor continues to face challenges, the French rider remains focused on clinching the top spot in Japan. He will be competing with Team HRC, which is aiming for its third consecutive win at Suzuka.

Accompanying Zarco on the Bridgestone-equipped Fireblade for the event scheduled from July 19 to 21 will be Takumi Takahashi, a five-time winner of the event, and Teppei Nagoe, a new member of Team HRC.

“I’m thrilled to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours,” stated Zarco, who secured victory in the 2023 Australian MotoGP for Pramac Ducati before transitioning to Honda this year.

"It's the most significant motorcycle competition and a crucial event for Honda."

"Similar to how many MotoGP legends have triumphed in the Suzuka 8 Hours, I too aspire to achieve victory as a rider for Team HRC with Japan Post."

"I'm grateful to Honda and LCR for offering me this chance."

Last month, Zarco experienced the renowned 5.821-kilometre Suzuka Circuit for the first time during testing.

"Suzuka is really remarkable. It's incredibly fast and has excellent asphalt with great traction," Zarco remarked.

"During the two days, I familiarized myself with the track by riding extensively. Takahashi's speed impressed me, so I aimed to learn from him and maintain a similar pace. Overall, I believe the test was quite enjoyable."

"At first, I felt anxious since everything was unfamiliar, but over time I started to feel more at ease and my riding improved. I believe I'll perform well in the race."

"The bicycle performs well, allowing you to focus on improving your own skills."

"MotoGP races typically run for around 40 minutes, whereas each stint in the Suzuka 8 Hours race extends to an hour. I have never competed for such a lengthy duration before."

However, I was always aware that I would eventually participate in the Suzuka 8 Hours race. Additionally, I've mentioned my intentions to compete in the 24 Heures Motos and Bol d’Or events one day.

"I was considering that this year it might be feasible because the dates don't conflict."

"When Honda approached me, I expressed my enthusiasm for the opportunity, as it would allow me a sense of freedom and the chance to engage in various enjoyable activities."

Guintoli: Thrilled to race alongside Zarco

One of Zarco’s competitors at Suzuka is his fellow Frenchman and ex-MotoGP racer Sylvain Guintoli, who is participating with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance team.

"It's fantastic to have Johann Zarco joining the race," commented Guintoli, who is often present in the MotoGP paddock due to his role with TNT Sports. "This is excellent news for the championship, the event itself, and its overall visibility."

"It will be exciting to be on the track with Johann, and I am eager to see how he performs on an endurance bike."

"I'm confident he'll find joy in it, and it will pose a significant challenge for him. However, it's a race he has a real shot at winning, so it will be exciting to watch him compete alongside us."

Josh Hook of F.C.C. TSR Honda France commented, “He has enough experience to know how to perform his duties, and I’m confident he’ll succeed since he’s riding an excellent bike with top-notch tyres.”

"Many MotoGP and World Superbike racers have participated in this event multiple times, generating significant excitement. It's beneficial to compete alongside them to observe their techniques and strategies."

Gregg Black, a rider for Yoshimura SERT Motul, expressed that it’s beneficial for everyone to witness his participation in the upcoming race, despite Black himself being sidelined due to an injury.

"Given his impressive track record in MotoGP, joining Honda is an ideal opportunity for him to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours."

Notable MotoGP racers who have previously triumphed at the Suzuka 8 Hours event encompass Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Carlos Checa, Colin Edwards, Valentino Rossi, Alex Barros, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey.

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