Johann Zarco signs with KTM

Johann Zarco pic:

Johann Zarco will be a factory KTM rider in the 2019 and 2020 MotoGP seasons, the Austrian marque has announced.

The announcement of the Frenchman’s signing comes hot on the heels of that of Pol Espargaro’s contract extension with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for the same period of time.

Zarco has impressed in MotoGP since stepping up to the premier class with currently Yamaha satellite team Tech3 last year.

The 27-year-old has three poles and three second placings to his name, finishing 2017 sixth in the championship and top independent team rider.

“It is clear that we want to take another step in MotoGP,” said KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer.

“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 sprit.

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

KTM started in MotoGP with a wildcard at Valencia in 2016 before its first season proper last year.

Zarco’s current team will also switch to KTM next year, with Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal signalling closer integration with the factory than experienced with Yamaha.

There is no word on the destination of Bradley Smith, whose seat Zarco takes.

MotoGP continues tomorrow evening with practice for Round 4 at Jerez, Spain.

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