Zarco: Replacing Lorenzo would be an 'exceptional dream'

Johann Zarco on track at the Thai Grand Prix 2019

Johann Zarco wasted no time in outlining his desire to replace retiring three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo at Repsol Honda in 2020.

Lorenzo announced on Thursday he will step away from the sport after this weekend's season-ending Valencia Grand Prix, having endured a miserable debut campaign with the factory Honda team.

The Spaniard has failed to record a single top-10 finish and missed four races after fracturing a vertebrae at Assen in June, while team-mate Marc Marquez romped to a sixth title in the premier class.

Zarco, who is riding for LCR Honda having been dropped by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing after an early termination to his two-year contract was agreed, would relish the chance to take Lorenzo's seat next season.

"It means there's a place getting free for 2020 season – where, I don't know, but somewhere it's a free place. And that's a chance for me to ride next year," said Zarco.

"I'm just thinking about this, it's giving me the smile, because since August I didn't know what I can do for next year, I still don't know now, but now on paper there is a possibility.

"The Repsol Honda team is the best one, it's the factory team, and just from that it would be like an exceptional dream to catch in this complicated season."

Having impressed as an independent Honda rider since 2015, Cal Crutchlow could be considered the leading candidate to fill the spot vacated by Lorenzo.

The Briton is unsure how the news will impact on him but he hinted at potentially being ahead of Zarco in the pecking order.

Crutchlow said: "I don't know if Jorge Lorenzo's retirement will affect me. My job is to have a good race.

"Johann's a great rider, a great rider, he's won world championships. But he also quit [KTM] this year. Let's not lose sight of that, and that's not me having a go.

"I think Johann is a great rider, I think he's done himself proud in riding the Honda in the way he has the last two races. But we'll see.

"These last three grands prix are some of his best circuits. The Honda is good at the circuits he's been to, and that's the story. Nothing to do with me."

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