MotoGP

Johann Zarco: Signing with KTM not entirely my choice…

Johann Zarco points the finger of blame at his manager for his much publicised ill-fated tenure at the KTM Factory Racing team during MotoGP 2019

 Johann Zarco has stoked further controversy by revealing he put too much trust in his manager when deciding to make his ill-fated move to KTM for the 2019 MotoGP World Championship season.

The Frenchman endured a fraught 2019 campaign following his switch from Tech 3 Yamaha to the burgeoning KTM Factory project, Zarco struggling to find his form on the still developing RC16 and passing on his honest assessments of the situation through the media.

Having elected to ‘accept the risk’ of unemployment by curtailing his two-year agreement to just a single season, Zarco was dropped ahead of Round 12 by the team because it was turning its focus towards 2020.

Indeed, in an interview with Motosprint, Zarco claims he put too much trust into his manager Laurent Fellon when deciding to make the switch to KTM after enjoying success – including six podiums – with the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha team.

However, with Tech 3 ending its association with Yamaha in favour of becoming a satellite KTM entry, while Zarco was left with few options for 2019 regardless, he insists the decision was too ‘hasty’.

“I have no regrets and I must add that signing with KTM was not entirely my choice,” he said. “My former manager supported me, I trusted him very much and it was perhaps too much confidence that led us to make a hasty decision.

Reflecting on that time with KTM now he is officially out of contract with the Austrian firm, Zarco says he’d have rather risked riding nothing at all rather than continue with the team.

“I had a two-year contract, but considering how things were going, I could not continue like this. I was afraid of losing everything, I preferred to accept the risk of no longer riding a motorcycle, looking for other roads which, at the end of the year, materialised. I couldn't be happy to be paid for doing nothing. I couldn't live like that.”

Zarco – who says became his own manager after splitting with Fellon - went on to ride for LCR Honda in the final three events of 2019 in what he hoped was a prelude to a move to Repsol Honda replacing the retiring Jorge Lorenzo.

When that move didn’t materialise, Zarco accepted a deal to join Avintia Ducati. Though it doesn’t share the same status as Ducati’s primary satellite effort Pramac Racing, Zarco is confident this is the first step to him getting to the official team.

“I have to set a fairly real goal, so I'm going to aim for the top 10. From there, I will try to improve myself more and more. If this is the case, I will show that I have a good attitude to regain a position in an official team, but with a winning motorcycle.” 

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