Karel Abraham Interview: On Being Fired By Email, Promises Broken, And Fired Crew Chiefs

On Saturday night, Karel Abraham told a meeting of his fans that he would not be back in MotoGP. The Czech rider found out on Friday that the Avintia team wanted to end their relationship, when he received an email from a notary representing the team stating in Spanish that the team would be terminating his contract.

The move came as a massive shock to Abraham. It had been completely unexpected, as he had been told at Valencia that he would be back with the team in 2020, and to turn up for the test at Jerez. Only on Saturday was he told not to travel to Jerez.

Abraham had already made arrangements, however. He also needed to recover his leathers and various other belongings which had been sitting in the Avintia truck when it was driven to Jerez for the test. While he was at the Jerez circuit picking up his belongings, Israeli TV commentator Tammy Gorali, present in Jerez to report on the test, grabbed him and spoke to him for MotoMatters.com. That gave Abraham a chance to give his side of the story.

Surprise

"As much as many people were surprised, I was very surprised, because I absolutely didn't expect it," the Czech rider told Tammy Gorali. "Well, you could say I could have expected it, the season was not great. Yes, I agree, that's true, but OK, we had a two years deal."

Abraham's contract with Avintia ran through 2019 and 2020, and talks had already taken place about improving the performance of Abraham and the team next season, the Czech rider said, and even prospects beyond that. "In the middle of the season I came to the team and said hey, look, we need to talk, do you want me to stay? And they were 'yeah everything is going in line and everything is perfect and great'. But since we had this meeting, we also were talking about 2021, because Tito also signed a 2-year contract."

Things in the team had taken a turn for the worse after that, Abraham told Gorali. "Since then things were not working really great," he said. "When we came to Malaysia the guy from Ohlins was not in our team. Our Ohlins guy was in Malaysia, but he was not allowed to work with us, because there were some issues." Abraham would not be drawn on what those issues were, though he hinted at what they might be. "If you try to find out, it's quite simple."

Looking for solutions

Those problems had been cause for Abraham to sit down with the team to try to work out a solution for next year. "We said, OK, look, everything is more or less alright, but there are a couple of things which we are not happy about and want to talk about. And we wanted to have a meeting in Sepang, which we did, we wanted to have a meeting again in Valencia, which we also did."

When rumors that Avintia was looking at putting Johann Zarco in the team in place of Abraham, the Czech rider spoke to Ruben Xaus, who handles team management together with Raul Romero. Xaus told Abraham he did not need to be concerned, Abraham told Gorali. "So we talked in Valencia again, and after the rumors with Zarco I went to Ruben again, multiple times actually, and asked what is going on, is it happening or not happening? And on Tuesday – he missed the last day of testing on Wednesday – he confirmed and said don't worry, you have your contract, everything is as it should be. I asked if they were talking to Zarco and he said 'No, we are absolutely not talking to Zarco, this is just some rumors, it's not true'. "

That reassured Abraham. "So I said OK,I did one day of testing, which was not bad, then I went back home. We texted a couple of times with Ruben, but he did not answer but I did not take it seriously."

Fired by email

It was only on Friday that Abraham received an email for the lawyers handling legal affairs for the team. "Late Friday evening, I opened my email and I received an email from a notary," Abraham told Gorali. "I opened it and it was in full Spanish, not English or Czech, saying 'Hello Mr Abraham, I am the notary of Esponsorama [the organization behind the Avintia team - DE], these are the documents and paperwork that this is the official notary'."

Because everything was in Spanish, Abraham could only get the broad lines of what the email was saying. Professional translation services were shut, it being Friday night, so Abraham had to use an online service to get a rough sense of the contents of the email. "When we put it into a translator, it was quiet clear that it was the termination of our contract. So we texted Ruben again, with 'Hey, what is this?' No answer."

Abraham tried texting repeatedly, to no avail. "We texted him multiple times, but we didn't receive any answer from him," he said. "But on the next day, Saturday, I texted him again saying 'Hey, Ruben look, you sent me this Spanish email, I have no idea what is in it and tomorrow I am leaving to Jerez, should I go to Jerez or not?' Only then I received a message saying, 'Correct, it's the termination of the contract, don't come to Jerez, and stop communication with me'."

Poor form

The way that Xaus had handled that had come as a real blow to Abraham, he told Gorali. "I am disappointed because he was always this kind of friendly guy, he borrowed a car from me, he went with me to the hotel, or in Australia we spent a lot of time together, very friendly. And then he says 'don't talk to me anymore'. So I was like, "Are you serious? You are basically kicking me in the ass after the season is done and while we have a contract, and not even talking to me?'"

Abraham had expected someone in the team to at least have the decency to phone him to explain, he told Gorali. "OK, Raul doesn't speak English, but Ruben or somebody else, I don't care who, they could pick up the phone and say 'Hey Karel, this is the situation'. But they said nothing. I am also here in Jerez because as you can see I did not expect this, because they assured me it's not happening and I have all my stuff in the track, so I just came to pick it up and then I am gone. But it was a big surprise for me too."

Abraham had been given the ride in the Avintia team on the understanding that he would bring sponsorship to the team. The Czech rider insisted that he and his sponsors had paid the agreed sum for 2019 in full, but acknowledged that early payments for 2020 had been put on hold, because he wanted to get assurances about changes in the team for next season.

Leverage

"What you hear is half way true," Abraham told Tammy Gorali. "This is what they used to kick me out, but honestly, all of 2019 is paid for, there was no doubt. 2019 was completely paid for. There were some payments we were supposed to make for the 2020 season, but we did not pay them and postponed them, not for months, we are talking days. We postponed them because we had some doubts about things happening in the team."

The postponed payments were part of the negotiations for 2020, especially in light of losing an Ohlins technician in Malaysia, Abraham explained. "First of all, we postponed the payments because we did not get what we agreed in the contract, for example the Ohlins guy was missing and many other things happening. So we said hey, we want to talk about the next season before we fully commit. And they said, OK, we will talk in Malaysia, which we did, but there were new issues coming, so we said we will talk one more time in Valencia, and then we will proceed. In Valencia we agreed, we still wanted to do some adjustments so we sent some proposals, but we received no answer but the termination of the contract."

The postponed payments were used as the reason to terminate the contract, according to Abraham. "This is why they said they are kicking us out. Because we didn't pay in time, because we broke the contract," the Czech rider said. "But really, it's not true, because we agreed to have those meetings, and postponed the payments."

Why Zarco?

Though Abraham repeatedly said he had nothing against Johann Zarco, he was at a loss to explain why the Frenchman had been given his job. "I was talking to Ducati at Valencia during the test, not to Gigi but somebody else, and they told me they are not supporting Zarco," Abraham told Gorali. "They are not against him, but they are not supporting him, so they are not giving him better material, they are not giving him a discount on the bike. They told me that Avintia has one contract, and it doesn't matter which rider is on the bike, this is the bike they get at this price. This is what Ducati told me. If it's going to be like this, I don't know."

Abraham said that he had no knowledge of the situation beyond Avintia wanting to break the contract. "I know what is happening on my side, but I don't know what is happening on Avintia and Zarco," he said. "Honestly, I'm not even 100% sure it's Zarco. It's quite obvious but not confirmed. So I think it will be Zarco who is replacing me, but I didn't see the contract, I didn't see the official announcement or anything. It's just one guy, and everybody is talking about him, so it looks like it's going to be him."

He was surprised that Zarco was still being linked to Avintia after the Frenchman's cutting comments about the team over the Valencia race weekend. Zarco had said he would rather not ride for Avintia, as Avintia was not 'a top team'. "I'm not the one to judge Zarco’s moves," Abraham said. "It’s his choice. But he was in a factory team. I know he didn’t like the bike that much, but he was in a factory team. He got a very good salary and everything was set. Next year, the rumors say that quite a few riders will leave factory teams, so good opportunities, everything."

"Anyway, Zarco left this team. He didn’t talk very well about them," Abraham said. "After he didn’t even talk very well about Avintia. Then he fights for it, for Ducati Avintia team. He fights after going out of factory team, after saying bad things about Avintia. This is something that I don’t really understand, but this is the business of Zarco, not mine anymore."

Uncertain future

The whole situation was so fresh that Abraham had not yet decided on a course of action, he said. "Because it just happened on Friday night, so it is one day and one night away. We didn’t even make official translation yet, which we will do during the week. Then we will proceed to take the actions, but what are the actions we are not sure yet. We really don’t know. We don’t know what is in the letters that we received. We have to take the package together and think about it."

The overriding feeling for Abraham was anger mixed with disappointment, he told Tammy Gorali. "I am sad that I’m not racing, but mostly now I’m angry and disappointed, especially disappointed because to do this is really strange. They know that they received all the money from us, so they knew that they are going to receive all the money. In the paddock you can ask. There is nobody that we didn’t pay. In the past every time when we were supposed to do something, it happened. We don’t have a history of something bad."

The whole situation had left Abraham uncertain of his next move. "For the moment, it’s very fresh, but I’m not planning to stay in a racing environment," he said. "Apart from the Brno circuit, obviously, which we are running. But MotoGP, world championship, I’m not planning for the moment to stay."

Abraham was aware that he was only giving his side of the story, but he also believed that his history, and the history of the Avintia team, would bear him out. "Obviously everybody can say that there are two sides that you have to look at. I think you should look into my history. Not professional riding, but professional acting in the paddock, what I did, how was our history, how was the history of Avintia, how is the history of the people involved. Listen to both stories and take whatever you want out of it. I’m telling you how I feel it. I think I’m telling you the facts. That what it is," he told Gorali.

Racing life

Although he is a trained lawyer, racing is the only life he has known since he was very young, Abraham said. "When I was fifteen, I started," he said. "So it’s been fifteen years that I was around, living between the tracks in motorhomes, traveling all the time in a car and planes and everything. So it’s kind of the life that I’m used to. So we will see what will be happening. Now I honestly have no idea. The speed, adrenaline… I need adrenaline. So the speed and adrenaline, people around, I’m sure I’m going to miss it. Maybe not in the first week. That’s more disappointment and anger, but you get hungry. That’s the time you will see. I don’t know yet."

What made Abraham most angry was the way the whole situation had been handled. Having his contract torn up at the end of the year, with no opportunity to go anywhere else, had been a body blow. "I understand that Johann Zarco might be a good guy to ride a bike," he said. "I understand that. But this is not how you treat a person. This is not how you do business either. If we have a contract and the contract is there and everything is ready and the season is over, and right now they know if they kick me out, which they did, I have no chance of finding a place now. Basically no chance in Moto2. MotoGP, absolutely not. Superbike also, not a good place, at least. So basically what they did, they just screwed me. It’s just, I’m done."

If the Avintia team had told him earlier, he might have been able to find something else, Abraham said. "If they told me in the middle of season, we could have done something. Or, they could also approach me in Valencia and say, 'Karel, look. We’ve got Zarco. This is the deal. He will bring a lot more money than you,' or whatever is the deal. I don’t know. 'What are we going to do about it?' Then I can say, okay, it’s bad, but maybe I was not so happy this year. Let’s talk about it and let’s do it the normal way. That’s how you do it. But you cannot have the contract and basically after Valencia it’s called the beginning of next season, right? So I was already testing 2019 bikes, and then they say, 'Okay, stay home.'"

Fired crew chief

Abraham was not the only victim of this approach, he told Tammy Gorali. "Basically two weeks before they did it to me, they did it to my crew chief. I didn’t know about it. Ducati didn’t know about it. Nobody knew about it. He came to Malaysia and they told him, 'Next year you’re not working here.' He said, 'Are you serious? Because now all the crew chiefs in Moto2, MotoGP, and Moto3 are taken. So I need to stay home next year.' They cut him off. When you leave for one year, it’s really difficult to come back."

Abraham could not see a future for himself in any of the other classes, he told Gorali. "Don’t take me wrong - Moto2 and Superbikes are amazing races. It’s great. But I have gone through it. I went to MotoGP. I left MotoGP. I desperately wanted to make some good results. I already said it before. I don’t want to make a step back."

He did not want to disparage either Moto2 or World Superbikes, Abraham insisted. "I don’t say it’s a step back like it’s bad. No. It’s great racing. But I already was there, and I would be coming back. This is something that I don’t want to do. It’s absolutely clear for me. I said there is only one condition under which I will do it, because I’m thirty years old. It’s not old, but for racing it’s not young. So going Moto2 or Superbikes, I would go if they gave me a really fast bike, and if they give me a good salary."

So Karel Abraham is to sit along the sidelines at Jerez, while the Reale Avintia team tests. Tito Rabat will be on one bike, while the Avintia squad's MotoE rider Eric Granado will be on the second bike for the Jerez test, as a reward for winning races in MotoE for the team.

The ball is now in Johann Zarco's court. If the Frenchman says the word, there is a seat in the Avintia squad for him. But so far, he has yet to make his mind up.


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Total votes: 46

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Comments

Thats sommy crappy team managment.  Ignoring your riders texts like a jilted girlfriend..... harsh!

Total votes: 48

Maybe that's EXACTLY where Zarco needs to land. 

Total votes: 43

mr.abraham,

how about a trip around the usa? pretty sure wayne and co. would welcome you and yours to ama.

i know i would.

bring a couple of bucks and your camera to the usa and enjoy yourself in a laid back atmosphere while having some FUN at the track.

 

 

 

 

Total votes: 47

This is the silliest post-season silly season that I could ever imagine occurring.

And I blame it all on Ducati.  And Lorenzo.  I theorize that the whole "Ducati to bump Jack to make room for Lorenzo because Lorenzo called Gigi and asked" thing has set in motion a whole general allowance of a level of silly that previously would've been figured as completely out of bounds.

And then Lorenzo retiring at season's end; now a 2Marquez Repsol Honda team; now a jump for Augusto Fernandez from Pons40 to the MarcVDS team (to fill the hole left by Alex); now a hole at Pons40; now post-season rider swapping chats (Zarco); now Avintia dropping Karel without even yet a guarantee of the rider replacement?!

Shoot, maybe Zarco will go to Pons40 -- just to spice it all up a little more...

Total votes: 33

Same old same old, in the pay to ride world. Only way this will stop is when the sport ends. 

Avintia and Zarco deserve each other, maybe hide the cutlery..

Total votes: 29

Quite a different story compared to Lorenzo's retirement announcement. And yet in many ways these two were equals. Both sacrificed themselves to devote their lives to motorcycle racing. Both had father's that were instrumental in guiding their paths to Motogp. Both worked and trained hard to realize their dreams. Neither one risked more because, as history has shown us, anything can happen as soon as the rider leaves the pit box.

The one glaring difference was their respective results. Lorenzo battled for podiums, wins and championships at the highest level of motorcycling, while Abraham usually battled at the other end of the field, trying to place in the points and once in a while the top ten. Lorenzo tallied 68 grand prix wins and 152 podiums across all three classes while Abraham won only one Moto2 race and collected one other podium (a third place the same season) during his gp career. 

Lorenzo is considered to be one of the top 10 or even top 5 grand prix riders of all-time. He's a Motogp legend. He's almost Godlike on a Yamaha in a metronomic way. Jorge gets the emergency press conference to announce his departure and the Motogp website instantly begins filling up with Lorenzo memoravideos.

Abraham was one of those ART guys that helped fill the grid after the global sub-prime meltdown. Karel's father paid his entrance fee so he could race. This common knowledge fuelled jokes in the paddock. And when Karel was let go it was apparently done in a very disrespectful way.

Why is one treated like a God and another discarded like trash? Is Jorge Lorenzo that much more special and glittering than Karel Abraham?

Surely money has played a role in this. And those with power that have a means to leverage it. All this is yet another glimpse at the workings of the human mind.

ps - I always enjoyed Abraham's clear and concise conversations on the grid. And why contractually screw over a lawyer? Makes no sense. 

Total votes: 53

I am curious, David, what your take is on the multilingual nature of our sport (or other business dealings you have had where two or more languages were involved)?

I was a bit surprised that Avintia's representatives would communicate with Karel on a legal subject without any attempt at translation. And this is not the first time this has been an issue. The whole fiasco that led to Marc VDS exiting the MotoGP grid was certainly exacerbated by the fact that the contract Marc VDS signed for management services was only in French, and Marc van der Staten is not conversant in that language.

If we look at the FIM World Championship Regulations, typically available in French and English versions, they establish an order of precedence right up front:

"...Whilst the Regulations may be translated into other languages, in case of any dispute regarding interpretation the Official English text will prevail..."

Here is a link to a pretty concise article from the American Bar Association (ABA) about Drafting Multi-Language Contracts with the quick take-aways being:

  • Translation of a legal contact is far more involved than than commonly thought, and generally should be undertaken only by a translation service that is skilled in all the fine details regarding the very precise nature of legal phrasing in both the original and translated languages. If the translation service does not have these skills then the translation is, in all likelihood, rife with legal errors.
  • Legal contracts are very different from sporting regulations or engineering specifications, because the former may wind up being litigated in a Country where the original language is neither commonly spoken nor legally recognized. A French court will not issue a ruling based exclusively on an English language contract, nor would a US court accept a contract that was only in French. So the need for translation goes beyond what languages are spoken by the contracted parties...and instead is largely determined on the basis of who might potentially have jurisdiction over a contractual dispute, i.e., if you will never be in a French courtroom, you will never have a legal need for a French translation. But legal needs aside, most would agree that it is neither a sound nor an ethical practice to enter into any agreement that is understood by just one party. Sadly, others will see that as just a clever way to steal someone's purse (which appears to be the case for both Karel and the Beer Barron).
  • We will all need a lot more lawyers and have to spend a lot more money to ensure our contracts remain viable when legal disputes cross borders. Of course, I have never known the ABA offer counsel on any subject where their first response wasn't: "you need more lawyers". Letting the ABA determine how many lawyers are needed is like trusting the local pastry shop to determine your ideal weight before suggesting: "you need more eclairs".

But since you are so deeply involved in a multi-national sport, and all the challenges that multiple languages can present in both your work and and away from it...what is your take on all of this? Thanks in advance. Cheers

PS - That was a phenomenal bit of reporting! Kudos!! (and I can't imagine Ducati is very pleased that, through no fault of their own, Carmelo has pulled them into his little mud puddle).

Feel free to skip the rest of what is below. It will not be part of the exam.

My own experience is with the interpretation of engineering specifications, not contracts.There are two key English words that explain the difference: Compliance and Conformance. An Enterprise (and the individuals who populate it) comply with regulations, work rules, contracts, employment requirements, environmental and labor laws, and so forth. Detail components, assemblies, and the final end product conform to engineering specifications as well as any engineering standards, process documentation, manufacturing standards, BOM, or any other data that is directly cited or disclosed. Compliance is generally considered the default condition of the enterprise and only fully examined when a violation is cited. The same way that you as a rider are presumed to be obeying the speed limit until you are cited otherwise. The enterprise will, of course, monitor the level of citations and if there are too many it will initiate a corrective action plan (typically, but not always, by dealing with non-compliance as a training issue). Conformance, on the other hand, is subject to verification at each stage of of the workflow process. So from the previous analogy the rider would now have the responsibility to verify that the intended speed limits were never exceeded, and the default condition is that conformance does not exist until it is verified. Excessive non-conformance is almost always a failure of process capability, and the corrective action will cost a lot more than a 20 minute training video.

As an example: A MotoGP engine is subject to both conformance and compliance. First, it conforms to the manufacturer's engineering specifications when built, and is then submitted to the FIM who will verify that it also conforms to the technical requirements specified by the Championship Regulations before it is sealed. It is then assumed to be in compliance with rules governing its use in the championship. For the rest of the season that compliance may be monitored, but only to with respect to the requirement that it remains a sealed unit. Nobody at the FIM is going to pull the heads off halfway into the season looking for a 1200 kit, but they may look for a tampered seal (of course in Aprilia's case removing the head would be unnecessary...since it is easier just to measure the internal engine bits scattered about the circuit or collected by the belly pan). There is still far too much confusion in industry about what is conformance and what is compliance, But I will leave discussions of the Dunning–Kruger effect and the rise of the show pony for another time.

When the end product's value stream will be multilingual (and these days that means always) the engineering product definition always states that the English language definition is the sole authority for verification of conformance to specifications, and that ends the discussion. Any issue of language preference is no more of a challenge for engineering than which of the two systems of linear measurement is authoritative. If the engineering product definition states that the units of linear measure shall be decimal inches and angles shall be decimal degrees...that is the end of that ambiguity as-well. There is never a claim made for the native superiority of one language or measurement system over the other, we just disclose the requirements for their use or exclusion. If the engineering requirements are stated as English and Inches, then there are no alternatives. If German and Millimeters were specified, there would be no alternatives to that requirement.

So it doesn't matter that the International System of Units (SI), which we all know and love as the metric system, is almost universally used outside the US and should have been adopted here decades ago. Disclosure of our requirements means we are free to drop common sense down the nearest well and continue our race back to the 19th Century...as long as we clearly state we are specifying the US Customary System...where linear measure was originally derived from the length of some dead King's thumb and the distance a Roman Legion marched when taking 1,000 strides. Or at least that used to be the case. The joke is that today inches are defined to a standard meter, and pounds to a standard kilogram, so really everything is wholly defined by the SI standards, dead Kings and dead Romans be damned. In spite of that the US Customary System still clings to US Engineering like stink on a monkey. Well, except for angles (God bless them) which are neither Metric nor US Customary system specific, so the whole world agrees that a degree is a degree is a degree...meaning angles will never know the terror of a French Court of Law. Cheers

Total votes: 33

Silly season soap opera reaches new heights.  New lows is perhaps more fitting.

I've taken some cheap shots at Karel Abraham. Yes I've referred to him as Daddy racing. Yes I laughed when Jinx called him Karel the gravel.

I never liked his beard either, so what.

None the less Karel Abraham deserved better treatment. Abraham risked his life and limbs just the same as Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez & all the rest of the riders. Shabby behavior by "not a top team". That team are the biggest losers in this debacle. Perhaps " not a top team " & Johann Zarco deserve each other. A marriage made in haste, but not a partnership. Not a whole lot of trust on either side I'll wager.

Best of luck to Karel Abraham, wherever he ends up.

Total votes: 36

Karel sort of admits the reason they could fire him was because he had not ponied up the coins for the 2020 season, so it wouldn’t mattered if contract was written in Spanish, English, or some other language.. since it sounds like he missed a payment. And him being fired via an email written in Spanish, that has nothing to do with what language the contract was written since he would been fired when he showed up at Jerez. 

Total votes: 29

Not that I'm Karel's spokesperson but he said that they didn't provide him staff and based on that (plus the zarco stories I suppose) they iniciated meetings to clear this mess up.

Anyway, if it was money for 2020, it's good they didn't get it.

(I respect Kája even if he didn't deliver anything special. This is not how you treat your riders.) 

Total votes: 25

For the last years, it's clear that Avintia's contracts are worth less than the papers they are written on.

2018: Xavier Simeon had a two years deal in Motogp: sacked after a year on a GP16 Ducati (was promised a GP17, only got it for the 4 GPs of the season)

2018 Livio Loi in Moto3: sacked during the first season

And now Karel... Regardless on the performance of these pilots, they just look bad for Motogp.

Reminds me their story with Maverick Viñales in 2012, when he wanted out because they were just a second division team.

As explained again by Chaz Davies in the excellent Eugene Laverty's podcast (https://soundcloud.com/prepropodcast/preproe13-chaz-davies), if you have crap team and crap machinery, you will get crap results. Some are just there to abuse others and make a profit on everybody's back.

Total votes: 22

The only positive I can see in this mess is that Avintia are trying to improve by any means to get a better credentialed rider with a better ability to generate income or sponsorship for the struggling team.

And don't they need to improve. Since Barbera managed to finish 10th in 2016 the combined end of season points for their two riders have gone 2016 - 137, 2017 - 77, 2018 - 36, 2019 - 32. Only one way to go with that sort of progression!
It is hard to believe that the bkes and riders have been that bad, Rabat is a Moto2 Champion, so the team setup and support must bear much of the responsibility.

Abraham was wanting confirmation that in 2020 Avintia would deliver what they were contracted to do so withheld payment giving them an opportunity to be able to break the contract when it suited them to do so because a better alternative had appeared.

Total votes: 17

The channels through which the communication came smack of corporate oversight and interference. If Abraham's relationship with Xaus was anything like he claims, what possible motivation could Xaus have to respond the way he did?  It's hard to believe that he just changed his mind one day. It sounds to me like Xaus was between a rock and a hard place. Ducati made a decision, passed it through legal channels and beat their chests a little bit, the team folded because they didn't have a choice. 

Ducati has won one championship and still manage to be MotoGP's most arrogant manufacturer. They should've learned when Stoner left promptly won another chip with HRC. Ducati's internal management toxicity will keep them from winning.

Total votes: 19

I agree with M. Blair 100%. Ducati has its hands all over this. They somehow wanted Zarco in their que and Avintia is an easy mark to make it happen for them. Their big challenge is (or was?) convincing Zarco to take the chance, because everybody in that paddock probably considers Avintia sketchy at best. Abraham and his father mean next to nothing to Ducati. And they only meant something to Avintia because of their checkbook. He's a proven backmarker while Zarco has World Champion credentials and big upside despite his KTM experience. He clearly proved he has not forgotten how to ride through his HRC trial. Ducati is probably smart to get him on one of their bikes, even if the team principals are weak mother scooters... They can probably fill the obvious gaps in service levels for that particular Avintia seat. I get why Zarco quit KTM, too. Riders have short careers and it is plain to see that KTM is years away because they are stubborn. Even arrogant Ducati adopted more conventional technology in the interest of getting back to the front. Maybe KTM will eventually do that too, but by then Zarco would be at the end of his career. He might as well make the change now to see if he can salvage what he has left to offer. 

Total votes: 15

The prime point here, if it is as he says in this interview, is not about performance. It's about how you handle relationships with absolutely anybody.

Contract issues aside, the sacking via email and text response from Xaus.....

It's just not how it should be done...but it is however too common in business when people feel they will never need something from you again in the future. If it is as Abraham says, then i hope Xaus regrets when he reflects back in years to come. 

Business is business but it's the respect and treatment of others that shows how 'big' we are.

 

If it is as he says, i'm disgusted.

Total votes: 10

This is the ugly hand of Dorna. I would love to see Zarco principially refuse this 'blood' seat despite all political pressure

Total votes: 9

There's always two sides to a story like this and I haven't seen Avintia's so far. Contracts are never really worth any more than the paper on which they're written, not least because they simply formalise agreements we enter into and I doubt there's one of us here who hasn't agreed to do something and then sought to get out of it down the line. It doesn't really matter whether that's a promise to let your mate use your tools over the weekend or to buy a house when you haven't yet got a mortgage agreed. Usually it's all done in good faith but, equally usually, that goes out the window if a much better (or less risky in the case of the precious toolkit) offer appears.

And I agree about Xaus, he's probably just the meat in the sandwich.

Total votes: 12

I'm guessing Zarco will bring Le Mans money? Seems like a shifty deal to Karel Abraham, but those teams further from the front with less money have always seemed a bit shady. My view from behind all the fences. 

Total votes: 11

Other than Ducati, they have plenty of money, are close to the front, and pulled shady stuff on Stoner and Lorenzo and I'm sure many others we aren't even familiar with.  I remember they told one rider to see a shrink, was that Melandri?

Total votes: 10

Bottom line it comes down to money. Support = money. Zarco = more support so more money. But it's a risk. Zarco has only proven to be exceptional on the Yamaha. He's not bad on a 2018 Honda. He has proven he can't make bad bike better. So in the quest for more money and support what have they gained?  Avintia can't answer that as of now.

I am more afraid that in a very short time it won't matter. Paying for bad ride has to be much harder than getting paid for a good ride yet Abrahams did it year after year. It's harsh but maybe Abraham next chapter will be the surprise happy ending we hope for.

Total votes: 3