Johann Zarco has officially signed a two-year deal as part of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team from 2019, partnering Pol Espargaro who extended his contract a further two years yesterday.
The Frenchman has taken MotoGP by storm with four podiums over his first 21 races was crowned 2017 MotoGP rookie of the year, consistently beating the Yamaha factory duo of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
Despite rumours that KTM were planning on keeping Zarco with the Tech3 team who themselves are moving to factory KTM machines for 2019, the factory confirmed Zarco will be in the full factory team.
KTM managed to hold off interest from Honda for the services of the two-time Moto2 World Champion and get the 27-year-old back where with the company with whom he started his World Championship career.
“There has always been a good contact with Johann and since the Red Bull Rookies Cup,” says Pit Beirer – KTM Motorsports Director.
“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.
He continued, “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.”