The long-awaited news of Johann Zarco's MotoGP contract has been announced. The Frenchman is to join Jonas Folger in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for 2017. Zarco's contract is for one year, with the team holding an option on the Frenchman for a second year.
The deal took some time to sort out, as Johann Zarco had already signed a preliminary deal with Suzuki. That deal saw him get to test Suzuki's MotoGP machine in Japan, and he had agreed to race the Suzuka 8 Hour with the factory endurance team. However, after Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were confirmed at the factory Suzuki team, and a satellite team failed to appear, Zarco opted out of his contract and joined Tech 3 instead. Untangling the Suzuki contract was a time-consuming process, but it has been completed ahead of this weekend's race in Germany.
The press release on Zarco's contract appears below, and more details of the story behind the contract are contained in a piece on Crash.net by Paddock Pass Podcast's Neil Morrison.
Zarco to join MotoGP with Tech3
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team is pleased to announce the signing of the exciting French talent, Johann Zarco for the forthcoming season. The 2015 Moto2 World Champion and current joint leader of this year’s intermediate contest, will move up to the premier class with the French team and make his debut on the Yamaha YZR-M1 at the post season Valencia test. The Cannes born rider began his Grand Prix career in 2009 where he competed in the 125cc class, with his highlight in the lightweight series being the runner up in the championship standings in 2011. The 25 year old then stepped up to the intermediate class and since then has produced some determined and eye catching rides across the five seasons so far, where he has amassed 11 victories, 9 pole positions and 14 podium finishes as well as his well deserved world title in 2015. This year Zarco is looking to seal back to back championship wins in the ultra competitive Moto2 class and will be joined by series rival Jonas Folger in the all-new line up for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in 2017, with the Frenchman’s contract including an option for a second season.
"It goes without saying that I am very happy to join the MotoGP class with Tech3 and I am confident that we can form a solid partnership. The team has a deep relationship and long history with Yamaha and they have proved that they can manage well in every situation and have had a good package year after year. This pleases me and it gives me extra motivation for reaching my targets in the 2017 season. Of course, it seems like a logical step for a French team and a French champion to work together, and now finally the deal is done which is certainly positive news. I really will do my best and prepare myself for the maximum because I think it’s more than possible to get some top results in MotoGP after my long experience in the intermediate class."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager:
"After the long wait, I am delighted to announce that Johann Zarco will join the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for next year. We haven’t had the chance to work with a French rider in our MotoGP team since Sylvain Guintoli in 2007 but I am certain that Johann will do a great job. We have been following him closely since he won the rookies cup and he has gone on to have further success in the 125cc class and Moto2. Last season was incredible for him and he won the championship in a masterful way. For me, Johann joining the team is a big and exciting challenge and he will be working with Guy Coulon’s side of the garage. We are very confident of this relationship being strong, as we already know that Johann and Guy will have a lot of similar points of view. In addition, I have to mention Laurent Fellon, his coach, friend and someone who has been on Johann’s side since the beginning of his career. The two of them have brought a new way of working to the sport and their efforts over the years will pay off and I cannot wait to see what he can do on our bike. The best pages of the Tech3 history book have been written by French riders and include Olivier Jacque, who won the 250cc title, with Dominique Sarron, Jean-Philippe Ruggia and Sylvain Guintoli all achieving success as well, so I am sure Johann can add to this list. I want to give him a really warm welcome and we can’t wait to see him on the bike after."