KTM benches Zarco for rest of season

Johann Zarco pic: MotoGP.com

Outgoing KTM Factory Racing rider Johann Zarco will now not see out the MotoGP season.

Zarco, who joined KTM from Tech3 for the 2019 and 2020 MotoGP seasons, was granted a release from his two-year contract with the Austrian marque in August.

The Frenchman has had a torrid time on the RC16 but was set to complete the current campaign.

He enjoyed one of his better outings of 2019 last weekend at Misano when he qualified eighth fastest, started 11th due to a grid penalty carried over from Silverstone, and finished 11th.

However, KTM has now opted to replace him with one of its two test riders, Mika Kallio, due to its ongoing development requirements.

“We have to make decisions to ensure that we use our resources in the best possible way and we are currently in a positive direction with our MotoGP structure,” said KTM Motorsport Director, Pit Beirer.

“We firmly believe that Mika can help us in this stage thanks to his knowledge and background. It is paramount that we verify our testing results in real race conditions to start our 2020 season in the best position.

“Mika has proved his ability on the RC16 and we are happy that he joins the line-up as a racer again.

“There is no doubt that we will focus on a new configuration with the #82 bike (Kallio’s) while fighting for points in the last races of the championship.

“At the same time we want to express gratitude to Johann for his effort since he joined our ambitious project in November last year. We now have to think of the future and are making this step accordingly.

“KTM will continue supporting him until the expiry of our contract at the end of the 2019 and we truly wish him all the best for his future.”

Zarco is currently 17th in the championship with a best finish this year of 10th at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and one front row qualification at a wet Brno.

Round 14 takes place this weekend at Aragon.

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