On Sunday at Valencia, rumours began circulating that Johann Zarco might become a factory KTM MotoGP rider in 2019.

Zarco has enjoyed a stellar rookie season in the premier-class, with three podiums, two pole positions and sixth (as the top satellite rider) in the world championship for Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

Such performances mean the Frenchman would be in contention for a factory Yamaha seat in 2019, should Valentino Rossi retire or Maverick Vinales part company with the official team.

But perhaps Zarco would not be prepared to wait and see if a factory space develops, instead taking his future into his own hands by agreeing to join KTM?

The KTM race team would only call the rumours 'interesting', but Red Bull-backed Speedweek.com has today published quotes from CEO Stefan Pierer, who names Zarco as the 'the only MotoGP rider I'm seriously considering for 2019':

"When I look at the championship table, there's no-one I can think of except Zarco, to be honest.

"He won the Moto2 World Championship for two years with Aki Ajo and won the Red Bull Rookies Cup on a KTM. He knows KTM.

"If you ask me, I would say: 'This is the only MotoGP rider that I'm seriously considering for 2019'."

Of the team's current line-up, Pierer made no mention of Bradley Smith but 'intends' to keep Pol Espargaro for 2019, when KTM should also run a satellite team.

Marc VDS is named as one of the possible candidates and could be used to give KTM's Moto2 stars Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder a MotoGP debut.

"We now have such a successful Moto2 team with Oliveira and Binder. These two riders are capable of MotoGP for 2019.

"In the long run, Brad Binder will also become a top MotoGP rider. He is a god on the brakes.

"If you win the Moto2 world championship for KTM in 2018, then you're in MotoGP for 2019. But that can also be with the satellite team."

However Pierer ruled out a bid for Honda's reigning four-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.

"I'm quite honest: Márquez is such an unique talent, in a league of his own. If he wins, it is Márquez. If he loses, my motorcycle is to blame. Moreover, such a signing would be counterproductive to our junior program, which we have built so carefully."


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Yamaha should put Zarco, Rossi and Vinales on the exact same bikes starting tomorrow’s testing and all of next season. The strategy works well for Honda w/ Crutchlow and Ducati w/ their satellites. It creates a test rider and the added information is valuable. Zarco would win however but at least they could say he was on the factory bike. 

Yamaha need to secure Zarco in that case. Can't let someone else wrap him up for 2019. 

Yamaha will need Rossi's approval before they can give Zarco a factory bike

really now...? I think 46 cares less for other ridersp by now.

I'm sorry but I think Pierer is full of shit!  There is no way KTM would turn down Marquez, if he were interested in the seat.... No freaking way

Yeah but he knows Márquez would not be interested, the bike is too green to attract a top rider. For me  Zarco is a bit too good for the KTM,  I think the Suzuki would be better for him if he wants to win races, and of course the Yamaha if they had a seat for him in the Movistar team,  but we''ll see the KTM progress next season. 

I think with Zarco's knowledge of KTM and the fact that KTM is on a upward spin, where Suzuki has sort of leveled off and lost a bit of direction makes KTM a real factor here.  Few riders jump on any bike and ride at the top... think Casey and Marquez and even Crutchy to a certain level... Zarco too has gone well no matter what / where and he might be the right guy for KTM... 

still surprised they didn't shake things up for 2018 given this years performance...especially after kallio exposed their full time seats.

Yamaha need to get rid of the blockage that is VR46...

Perhaps Paul N is being a little harsh but I do agree that sometimes the older wood has to be pruned to let the new growth through......thats not to decry an incredible career, but time marches on for all of us......