The German media Speedweek.com assures that, in the course of the #AmericasGP, Johann Zarco signed a contract with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for the next two years. Stefan Pierer, the Austrian brand’s top sporting manager, did not want to confirm the news, but neither did he deny it, according to journalist Günther Wiensinger.
According to this information, KTM will compete for the next two years with Pol Espargaró and the French rider, one of the most coveted names in the pilot market. The great affected in this operation would be Bradley Smith, whose permanence in the team has become very difficult to justify due to the lack of results.
Johan Zarco has also negotiated with Honda but, according to Wiesinger, the Japanese brand has taken the foreseeable way: they do not want to disturb the peace of the box with the arrival of a driver like Johann. For years, the manufacturer of the golden wing follows a model in which they have a reference –Marc Márquez– and a top driver who, at the same time, is a comfortable teammate who guarantees occasional victories and great regularity -Dani Pedrosa. Several weeks ago it was learned that Dani himself had held talks with the Central European brand while Zarco did the same with HRC.
If the signing of Zarco is confirmed, KTM will have taken two of the big MotoGP signatures at the moment. After more than 20 years of relationship, the French team Tech3 has signed an agreement with the Austrians to become a kind of junior team with which to receive new talents and to win them in the premier class. For now, the pilots who will compete with the satellite squadron from 2019 are not confirmed, but those of Mattighofen have shown interest for their Moto2 riders: Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.
Another of the key pieces of the market at the moment is Andrea Dovizioso, whose renewal by Ducati is also taken for granted in some Italian media. At this point, the pilot with the most complex situation is Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan lives what “possibly” is his most difficult moment with the Italian brand and, if he wants to continue in Borgo Panigale, he will have to reduce his salary in a remarkable way. His other option is Suzuki, a motorcycle that, on paper, would adapt more to his riding style. Negotiations are continuing, but there is little news of an official nature.