Zarco to join KTM MotoGP in 2019

KTM has confirmed that Johann Zarco will race for their factory MotoGP team in 2019 and 2020.

The Frenchman has got four podiums since joining Monster Yamaha Tech3 at the start of last season and on two occasions and has nearly claimed a first-ever satellite Yamaha MotoGP win.

The 27-year-old confirmed the news on his Twitter account saying: ‘My career will continue where everything begins, from RedBull Rookies Cup to the conquest of the MotoGP title. You understand it, I join @KTM_Racing for the next two years. I’m very happy to ride this KTM, which we have the same ambitions: Ready to race! @Michelin_Sport’

Zarco will join Pol Espargaro in the KTM team from 2019 with Bradley Smith leaving.

KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer confirmed the news, “There has always been a good contact with Johann since the Red Bull Rookies Cup,” said Beirer. “We supported the Moto2 project through WP and our Moto3 Team Manager Aki Ajo is a good friend of him. We also have a nice connection with his manager Laurent Fellon.

“It was a group effort to get this done. We had to trust in our capability to build a winning bike and Johann would not come over if he did not see and feel that trust. We feel very responsible now to get that package strong enough so that he can continue on the level where he is. It is our big target.”

“It is clear that we want to take another step in MotoGP. The first two years were about building up the project and to get everything running. You always want to get the best possible riders on board and it’s obvious with Johann beating the factory guys on satellite machinery and consistently qualifying on the front row means he is a strong fighter with a strong spirit.

“I’m convinced we can reach the next level with a rider like Johann with us.”

In the current MotoGP rider standings, Zarco is in fifth place with 38 points, just eight points behind leader Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati, who sits on 46 points after three races.