Laurent Fellon, Johann Zarco’s personal manager, today explained to Eurosport France the reasons that led his rider to accept KTM’s offer to run with Mattighofen’s factory team during the next two seasons.
In an interview offered inside the box of the Tech 3, Fellon has assured that the decision to accept the offer of KTM was his responsibility after showing Zarco the options that he had on the table facing next year, a future in which Yamaha was never present because of Valentino Rossi decision as publicly denounced by Fellon himself.
“It’s my decision [that Zarco goes to KTM] because … let’s go back: Éric de Seynes, who has helped us a lot, did what he could,” explains Fellon, referring to Eric de Seynes, director of Yamaha Motor Europe. “And I say Eric de Seynes because nobody from Yamaha has come to see us, he did everything he could to take the necessary steps and take us to Yamaha, and that has not happened because Valentino has blocked all the roads.
With the doors of Yamaha blocked by the Tavullia rider, Laurent Fellon recognizes that Honda was not a viable destination either due to the presence of Marc Márquez: “Putting Johann next to Márquez could not be good, because Márquez is Márquez”. And it also explains why they did not accept Suzuki’s offer, a brand that was already about to sign the French at the end of 2016 – it even included a test with the GSX-RR – before the Hamamatsu factory opted to contract to Alex Rins: “In Suzuki they already left us out, so coming back with someone who has thrown you … is something that you had to think about”.
The decision to sign for KTM was clear to Fellon: “KTM is a European factory, which has everything needed to develop the bike, Red Bull is after Johann, they want a rider like Johann, I think Red Bull will give wings to Johann, and on top of that, they will make a good bike, you just have to see what Kallio and Espargaró did yesterday. ”
Regarding the lack of competitiveness of the RC16 compared to the rest of the factory prototypes, the representative of Johann Zarco is confident that his rider knows how to take the machine from Mattighofen to a new level as it has already done with the YZR-M1 Tech 3 satellite: “Knowing that Espargaró was before with Johann’s Yamaha, the same one he has now, it was said that the Tech 3 Yamaha was not good, so with the KTM, I think that as soon as Johann gets on it, will be in the game and will be able to fight with those in front “.