Johann Zarco is back in the game, for the last three races of the season at least. AP Photo/Vincent Thian.

MONACO - French rider Johann Zarco will replace Takaaki Nakagami at LCR Honda for the final three races of the MotoGP season after the Japanese rider has shoulder surgery, the team said on Wednesday.

Zarco has been without a ride since parting company with the Austrian KTM team last month.

"I'm really thankful to have this chance, and I will do my best to pick up some good results and to enjoy the time, because these could be the last three races I can do for a while," said Zarco in a team statement.

"I would like to thank KTM for releasing me so that I can do these races on another bike. Let's see what I can do."

The remaining races after Japan are Australia, Malaysia and Valencia. 

Zarco, a two-times Moto2 champion and MotoGP rookie of the year in 2017, will partner Britain's Cal Crutchlow at the non-works team.

Nakagami has already been confirmed for 2020 by the Lucio Cecchinello-run team while Zarco is still searching for a ride for next season. 

Honda said the 27-year-old would have surgery after his home race at Motegi this weekend.

"The nature of the operation warrants an extensive recovery period, forcing the Japanese rider to end his 2019 season early," it added.

"By performing the operation now, Nakagami is aiming to be fully fit for the first test of the 2020 season in Sepang on February 7."

Nakagami has a season's best result of fifth at the Italian Grand Prix and is 12th in the championship.