Johann Zarco gets factory Suzuki call up for MotoGP test in Japan and the Suzuka 8-Hour.

Johann Zarco, JIR, Moto 2/3 test, Jerez, Feb 2012

Johann Zarco is to test the MotoGP Suzuki in Japan later this year – and he’s now been asked to ride a factory Suzuki in the massively-important to the factory Suzuka 8-hour race too.

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The Frenchman, who is currently contesting the Moto2 class where he became champion last year, is now catapulted into the ‘Who’s-Going-Where’ melee of the MotoGP Silly Season for next year.

In a land where there’s loads of ‘ifs’  Zarco could well end up in the Suzuki MotoGP squad for 2017 alongside Maverick Vinales (if Vinales’ deal with Yamaha isn’t signed off soon). If that does happen then it’ll mean Aleix Espargaro out on his ear looking for a ride in the big class.

Zarco has made no bones about moving up to the premier MotoGP championship next year, or who he wants it to be with. He said: “I hope to be with Suzuki in 2017. Although I had some MotoGP options for this year I wanted to stay in Moto2 in 2016.”

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The reality of that (aside from wanting to be the first person to defend the Moto2 championship title) is likely to be that this is a very clever way of negating the strict MotoGP testing rules. If a rider is in MotoGP then they can only test a MotoGP machine for a very limited number of days throughout the year – a hampering rule for any young rider wanting to make the most of their first year in the class – but if they’re riding in Moto2 or Moto3 there are no restrictions on the amount of testing they can do on a MotoGP bike.

So it’s not out of the realms of possibility that Zarco is already testing some big bike somewhere ahead of next year.

Tony Carter

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