Crutchlow: Zarco will "do better than people expect"

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow believes his new part-time MotoGP teammate Johann Zarco will "do better than people expect" in his upcoming three-race stint.

Crutchlow: Zarco will "do better than people expect"

KTM outcast Zarco has been drafted in to replace Takaaki Nakagami on the year-old Honda RC213V at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia, with the Japanese rider ruled out due to a planned surgery.

Zarco had toiled on a KTM RC16 bike that has been likened to the Honda, but Crutchlow - who has long expressed a preference for the 2018-spec RC213V over the current version - believes Zarco should be up to the new task.

"When I initially said Johann wouldn’t go well on the Honda I was talking about the 2019 bike," Crutchlow said. "The 2018 bike is a lot different, it’s a lot easier bike to ride, it stops and turns well and I think you can manage the situation on that bike a lot easier than our bike this year. Obviously doesn’t seem so with Marc [Marquez].

"I think you have to have the experience of the Honda to ride this year’s bike. And I think he [Zarco] will do a good job. He brakes late, he turns and he comes out of the corner.

"Sure, he has a smooth style but Dani [Pedrosa] also had a smooth style. I think he’ll do better than what people expect, sure."

Crutchlow acknowledged Zarco has had a "rough year" but pointed to his credentials as a two-time Moto2 champion.

"You don’t become a world champion and then don’t be fast. He’s still got it in him, he’s still able to be fast and competitive I’m sure, and I’m sure he’ll be able to prove that on this bike.

"I think he was a good choice by the team and Honda to replace Taka."

Nakagami, whose MotoGP deal was recently extended through 2020, reiterated his late-2019 absence was a consequence of the crash with Valentino Rossi at Assen - and insisted it would've been "impossible" to see out the campaign.

"Since Assen crash I feel painful in my right shoulder and let's say that race by race I feel that I lose performance," he said.

"For me, as you know, it's a really hard decision, I miss the last three races, and of course I wanted to finish racing until Valencia, but now it's quite impossible.

"Even the last few races I struggled to even finish the race. Aragon was so-so, but in Thailand I really struggled to hold on the bike, I lost power and everything. After this, I decided, okay, it's time for surgery."

The Japanese rider acknowledged he may be in for a difficult home grand prix this weekend at Motegi.

"The biggest problem is, I cannot hold on the bike on the braking, especially long braking is getting worse and worse.

"I don't want to say [it], but [it] will be tough weekend here. But I try to do my best and hopefully the pain is not increased, and I think from FP1 I have to take some painkillers."

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

shares
comments
LCR's Zarco idea "surprised" Honda bosses

Previous article

LCR's Zarco idea "surprised" Honda bosses

Next article

Zarco: Honda deal has closed the door at Yamaha

Zarco: Honda deal has closed the door at Yamaha
Load comments
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Prime

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Prime

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Prime

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP Prime

How Marc Marquez is facing his toughest challenge in MotoGP

The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021
The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP Prime

The other Austria 'shock' with major repercussions in MotoGP

The headlines after MotoGP's Austrian GP were naturally dominated by Brad Binder's heroics on slicks in the rain. But although seventh was, on the face of it, a fairly average result in the context of his season, that Fabio Quartararo was in contention for victory before the rain at Yamaha's worst venue should sound alarm bells for his rivals

MotoGP
Aug 17, 2021
Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem Prime

Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem

The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again

MotoGP
Aug 16, 2021