KTM Press Release: Johann Zarco Released From His KTM Contract At The End Of 2019

Here is the official press release from KTM announcing that Johann Zarco and KTM are to part ways at the end of the season. The background to the press release can be found in this story, written last night:

Zarco and Red Bull KTM close MotoGP agreement

MotoGP announcement

Johann Zarco and Red Bull KTM will not complete the second season of a two-year agreement together in 2020. The former Moto2 World Champion and the factory team have mutually decided to end his stint in orange at the end of the 2019 campaign.

The 29 year old joined KTM towards the end of 2018 after his second term in MotoGP and for his first with full-factory support. Zarco tried to adapt his riding style to the KTM RC16 and the team tried relentlessly to mould the #5 machine to the Frenchman’s wishes and requirements while teammate Pol Espargaro made regular Q2 qualification appearances and persistently vied for top ten positions.

Ultimately both Johann and the team decided not to proceed with their joint project for 2020 and will now focus on giving the maximum for the final eight rounds and remaining months of MotoGP 2019.

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What the hell did Pol's Q2 appearances have to do with anything?

This should serve as a bit of a warning for anyone looking to sign to KTM

I agree it comes across a bit odd, but in KTM’s defense, I think the fact that Zarco is seriously outperformed by his teammate is part of the cause of Zarco’s frustration and desperation. If he was the best KTM out there, it would probably not affect his confidence as much as it does now. So in that sense, it is relevant context. 

Zarco well and truly showed he can get the job done in Motogp, with poles and podiums to his name on a privateer bike.

To me it shows they are in denial about what is a pretty ordinary bike, relying on Pol riding around the problems rather than focussing on fixing them.

I don’t care who it is, if you piss someone off that much (as they did with Zarco) you need to own it as much as the other person.

Their statement is just catty, big loss of respect from me.

He did that on a privateer YAMAHA.  Which is well known as a friendly bike to ride in MotoGP.  The KTM isn't.  Whatever the reason, the combination of Zarco and KTM is not working, and looks like maybe he just won't gel with that machine.


Rather than trying to fix the "unfixable", both probably decided that parting ways and trying something else would be best.

The way I read it KTM are politely reminding everyone that Zarco has let the team down and chosen to leave rather than work with them.

Lets face it, if KTM really wanted to be nasty it could have also referred to Oliveira’s performances rather than just Pol’s.

It's easy saying this in hindsight, but should Zarco not have seen this coming? I mean, the KTM didn't drastically change from a smooth riding style bike into a beast you have to tame. So Zarco could have known his riding style wouldn't fit the Austrian bike. 

Since Zarco was brought in to be the top rider, it seems logical to compare his results to Espargaro's results.

In Zarco's defence, his time was way more limited to get to know the bike and adjusting to it. Espargaro has been around since the start of the project so he had way more time getting to know the bike and adjusting his riding to the KTM.