Avintia Confirm Johann Zarco Signed For 2020 MotoGP Season

Johann Zarco has been confirmed as the final piece of the MotoGP puzzle. The Avintia Racing Team have announced that Zarco will be riding a Ducati Desmosedici GP19 for them in 2020. 

The press release brings to an end weeks of speculation about the future of the Frenchman. Rumors of a move to Ducati had first come at Valencia, then been fueled further by the news that Karel Abraham had been sacked by Avintia. Zarco then told French journalist Michel Turco that he would be racing for Avintia in an interview for the magazine Moto Revue last week. 

There had been some skepticism around the move, after Zarco had told reporters he only wanted to ride for a top team, and had described Avintia as 'not a top team'. But Ducati have offered extra support and guarantees to both Avintia and Zarco to make the agreement possible. 

Zarco has signed a contract directly with Ducati, rather than with the team, guaranteeing him better support. In the press release, Avintia state that they will have more support from Ducati, with two electronics engineers and two track engineers from Ducati joining the team.

That is also beneficial for Ducati, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna told Israeli journalist Tammy Gorali. Avintia's status as perennial backmarkers did not make Ducati look good, so having what Ducati can hope is a very strong rider in the team should help lift the level of the team's achievements. 

The loss of Abraham, who brought money and sponsorship to the team, could pose a problem for Avintia. With Zarco signed for Ducati directly, that should relieve the strain on Avintia, as Ducati will be supporting the Frenchman with equipment. Zarco also has the backing of French GP promoter Claude Michy, and as a consequnce, Dorna, which has a lucrative TV contract with French broadcaster Canal+. That is likely to see extra support for Zarco and the team coming from the organizers as well.

Zarco is currently recovering from the ankle injury he sustained at the final race of 2019 at Valencia. He should be fit in time for the first test of 2020 at Sepang in early February.

The press release from Avintia appears below:


Johann Zarco, new rider of the Reale Avintia Racing Team

The Reale Avintia Racing Team is pleased to announce that Johann Zarco will be the rider to race with Tito Rabat at the next MotoGP World Championship in 2020. The Ducati satellite team will be joined by two track engineers and two Ducati Corse electronics that will follow the activity of the two riders of the Demosedici GP19 throughout the coming season. Zarco, two-time Moto2 World Champion, has signed a one-year agreement directly with Ducati and will be on track for the next season for the first time in the winter tests scheduled at Sepang from 7 to 9 February.

Raúl Romero, owner of the Reale Avintia Racing Team:

“I am really happy and excited with the arrival of a great rider like Johann Zarco to our team from the hand of Ducati. This further strengthens the growth of the team after extending the contract with the Manufacter of Borgo Panigale, making a leap of quality in terms of material by becoming a satellite team. All this package will allow to reflect in the circuits the effort of the structure in the last years. We hope to see Johann and Tito assiduously in the top ten and become a reference team soon. Finally, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their efforts in recent years, without them this would not have been possible.”

Johann Zarco has commented on his new challenge:

“I am very pleased to officially announce my signature with Ducati for 2020 season in MotoGP category racing in the Reale Avintia Racing Team. My left ankle is recovering well, I can enjoy now my winter time having rest with family and training again very soon!”

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Comments

...don't forget what bike back flipped him last race. Poetic.

Zarco got the contract w the team he wanted. He didn't get a 2020 bike, but w how early silly season may be, his start on a well sorted bike with lower expectations may serve him well. Bagnaia AND Petrucci are in his sights before turning a wheel.

His team will be ecstatic to get this rolling. Welcome back Johann.

(P.S. notice that we are rolling on straight through to 2021? Silly isn't season anymore, and it is quite serious)

The ONLY seat not formally in play? Ironically, Rabat. Which may not exist anyway if some permutations happen?

: Rossi "retires" with great fanfare, announced so close to MM93's tying title as to overshadow, first rider to blaze again at sunset with a never before seen role within Factory Yamaha.
: Quartararo to join Maverick.
: Morbidelli stays put. Moto2 standout joins him in Aqua, pick one.
: Marquez stays put. Forever.
: Crutchlow is off to California.
: Bagnaia to LCR Honda
: "Fastest Japanese rider" retains 2nd LCR
: A.Marquez gets a 1 yr contract extension
: Suzuki re-signs Rins and Mir, and disappoints us all by leaving logistics and funding "underfunctioned" too long, resulting in our last two grid spots staying much as they are.
: KTM stays with their current line up, w one niggle, and a top kid fight for 2nd Factory seat. Bet a pint it is Binder. Pol stays. Lecuona and Oliveira battle for 3rd KTM includes the looming presence of Martin. The watershed depends on level of performance for those two, but one of them may take Iannone's seat.
: A.Espargaro stays at Aprilia, with decreasing satisfaction. Iker or Oliveira take 2nd seat.
: ...drum roll...Ducati is the interesting Factory situation for sure. Dovi, like A.Espargaro, is surrounded by a fountain of youth in the top class. He has no where to go. He retains his seat, playing nicer w politics. He is joined by Miller in Red.
: 2nd Ducati Team gets Zarco and a new standout from Moto2, you pick.
: Avintia survives its stay of grid spot loss, returns to pay to play for one last go, and picks up...Petrucci? Tito backmarks his last season.

Your turn, and bets are open.
;)

So Zarco is back on the grid with a factory contract, riding his fourth manufacturer in two years. Surely that's a record in the modern era of GP racing?

Bayle seems like a much more professional character than Fellon. Zarco seems a calmer soul under his tutelage, 'not a top team' was a positively kind description of the last team over the line each weekend, although maybe not the best ice breaker.

Now Avintia have the chance to prove him wrong and Johann has the chance to remind everyone that he's actually pretty handy on a second hand bike. Good luck to them.

Three world championships between the two riders looks good, but I don't see the Reale Avintia Racing team winning races, never mind championships.

Hoping Rabat does well.

The only rider to win races with the Avintia team seems to be Maverick Vinales on a 125 in 2011. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I wonder if Paris Hilton will support Reale Avintia Racing Team again? Esponsorama ? They are getting plenty of media exposure.

and no podiums (in any class) since Julian Simon in 2012.

The team only got 4 more points than Jorge (and 2 more than Zarco) this season.

Even with twenty races, I'd be surprised if Zarco gets 80 points.

Let's hope the "proud cockerel" shows the speed and promise that he put on display in his first year. Talented or not I suspect it might be his last chance in this class. 

Rear wheel pivot steering w the throttle hand on sweepers in the thing w the Ducati. It is very stable on the brakes, and can do the stop-start corners fine.

We know Zarco can 250-Jorge rail a bike. He can override a bike consistently. He can battle and adjust with multiple lines. Happy to swap paint, thrives in battle.

He ALSO threw the Yamaha around under him at times, more like Pol and less like Jorge. It moved around a bit. The rear would step out on direction change, and waggle. He may be a rear wheel blaster? The Red electronics may be on proud display. Then they get to try to make tires last after his performance is dropping off after mid-race.

If he is top fitness, the garage feels good and the increased Duc technical staff are a fit, he may do the business. Like beat Petrucci.