Featured MotoGP: Zarco's shambolic season comes to an end as KTM axe him from racing duties

Discussion in 'News' started by Simon, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Mar 25, 2015
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    Johann Zarco has seen his dream factory ride turn into a nightmare even quicker than anticipated, with KTM deciding replace him in the team with immediate effect.

    Zarco and KTM had decided to mutually end their association at the end of 2019, but the Austrian powerhouse has decided to act now and relieve the Frenchman from racing duties for the remainder of the season.

    The official reason is that 'developments and ongoing work mean that priorities have been realigned', and while Zarco is exempt from his MotoGP commitments, he will remain contracted to KTM until the end of the season.

    He will be replaced in the team by test rider Mika Kallio - who rode the KTM on its debut in the MotoGP division in Valencia 2016 and has contributed strongly since the early testing phases of the RC16, already participating in seven wild card races from 2016 until 2018.

    Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: "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. 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 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."

    Paddock insiders insist Zarco has a future in the MotoGP paddock, with a rumoured contract with HRC about to be signed. The smart money is that Repsol Honda's Jorge Lorenzo will be released from his two-year contract at the end of this season, with Zarco either replacing the Spaniard directly, or moving to the LCR Honda squad, should Repsol Honda prefer Cal Crutchlow. Watch this space...

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