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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