As reported this morning
, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 has completed its 2017 MotoGP line-up by announcing the signing of Johann Zarco.
The reigning Moto2 champion thus joins fellow rookie Jonas Folger, as the pair take over the satellite M1s from Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Both Espargaro and Smith are switching to the new factory KTM team.
Zarco, currently tied at the top of this year's Moto2 standings with Alex Rins, has signed a one-year Tech 3 deal, with an option for 2018.
“It goes without saying that I am very happy to join the MotoGP class with Tech 3 and I am confident that we can form a solid partnership,” Zarco said. “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.”
Zarco, a runner-up in the 2011 125cc world championship, has spent the last five seasons in Moto2, claiming eleven victories and 25 podiums.
Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal added: “After the long wait, I am delighted to announce that Johann Zarco will join the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 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.”
Poncharal confirmed Crash.net's
earlier report that Zarco will join Smith's side of the garage and thus work with legendary crew chief Guy Coulon.
“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 Tech 3 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 Valencia, but my message to Johann now is to stick to the mission and win that second Moto2 title.”
No rider has yet won two Moto2 titles.
Suzuki had an 'option' on Zarco for 2017, who tested the GSX-RR in Japan last month.
However the Frenchman was surplus to requirements once the factory had signed Rins alongside Andrea Iannone. Zarco (25) had also been linked with a third satellite GSX-RR, but Suzuki is not yet ready to support such a project.
Zarco is the fourth Moto2 rider confirmed as stepping up to MotoGP next season, joining Sam Lowes (Aprilia), Rins and Folger.