Star MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco will remain at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 until at least the end of the 2018 MotoGP season.

The reigning double Moto2 champion led on his MotoGP debut - before falling - in Qatar, and has finished fifth, fifth and fourth in the races since, fighting for a podium for much of the recent Jerez race.

Zarco is now sixth in the world championship and the leading independent rider. Such results 'triggered the option of a second year with Tech 3' and an agreement was announced on the eve of their home French round at Le Mans.

"I am very happy to know that I will continue my MotoGP experience with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in 2018," Zarco said. "At the moment, I am enjoying an amazing debut in this category where I have learnt a huge amount, and the team have now given me the confidence for next year, which is just fantastic.

"I want to say thank you to my manager Laurent Fellon who has helped me at all times and also, thanks to the people who have assisted me since I started racing in the World Championship. We can see that Tech3 is a great team because when we push, it's possible to get a strong result.

"I am very happy but this is only the beginning and I will keep learning and growing so that I can regularly fight for podiums, and then once I am at this level, I plan to continue in this way for as long as possible. In 2018, the rules won't change and I will have an entire year of experience so this will certainly help me to get to the top."

Team manager Herve Poncaral added: "This news is incredibly good for me and the entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, but it is also positive for MotoGP racing worldwide and especially in France.

"Perhaps he could have waited a bit longer to make this decision, but he told me that he is happy and ready to commit himself to us.

"We are very proud to have that sort of confidence from Johann. He has already brought some amazing things to the team, such as huge excitement and joy, but he has also given us some pride back.

"I'm sure the best is yet to come, yet what he has done in the first four rounds is really impressive."

Zarco's team-mate and fellow rookie Jonas Folger is also on a one-year deal with an option for 2018.

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