KTM has officially confirmed that Tech3 will become its satellite MotoGP team from 2019.

“We are very happy to join forces with Tech3 in MotoGP from 2019," said KTM Motorsport director Pit Beirer. "The team has many years of experience and achieved a lot of great results in this championship. Their professional structure will make us even stronger.

"Having four KTM RC16 on the grid is also another big step for us, both for the development of our MotoGP bike and expanding KTM’s structure in the paddock. From the Red Bull Rookies Cup up to MotoGP there is a clear path to the top.

"We are looking forward to start a great cooperation and I’m thankful towards Hervé Poncharal for the future trust in KTM.”

Poncharal revealed on Saturday that the initial agreement will be for three years and also see the French team - which has run Yamaha machinery since joining the premier-class in 2001 - get the same machinery as the factory team.

Tech3 finished sixth in last year's world championship with Johann Zarco. The rookie star celebrated three podiums and two pole positions, with one other rostrum for team-mate Jonas Folger. Following Folger's withdraw, the team has signed Malaysian rookie Hafizh Syahrin for the 2018 season.

The surprise decision to leave Yamaha for 2019 was down to a deal which included, what Poncharal described as, "something we’ve been waiting for almost since we started with Tech3 and I couldn’t say no."

That was understood to mean the latest factory machines, rather than year-old equipment they have traditionally been given at Yamaha.

The decision by the factory Yamaha team to use a 2018 chassis based closely on the 2016 design, which Zarco has chosen to keep after also disliking the 2017 version, has reduced the difference between the bikes. Zarco is also rumoured to have 500 more rpm available than last year (but not the latest engine) and has been running the 2018 fairing.

However Tech3 clearly hoped they could get the full 2018 package for Zarco after his achievements last season, to match Honda's level of support for LCR (Cal Crutchlow) and Ducati with Pramac (Danilo Petrucci). Nonetheless, Zarco was fastest of all at the final pre-season test...

KTM's RC16 claimed a best race result of ninth (twice) during its rookie MotoGP season, finishing 14-seconds from the winner in Aragon.

The Austrian team will continue with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith in 2018 but, like Tech3 currently has no riders confirmed for 2019.

It seems likely that at least one of KTM's Moto2 line-up, Miguel Oliveira or Brad Binder, could be placed at Tech3 next year.

Zarco has already been linked to the official Austrian squad for 2019. Poncharal believes Zarco deserves to join a factory team, but thinks there is a still a possibility he might stay at Tech3 due to the factory KTM machinery and chance to continue with his trusted crew.

It is also thought that Tech3 will switch its Moto2 team to KTM machinery, for the new era of Triumph engines, although that is still to be confirmed.

Yamaha is yet to announce a replacement for Tech3 and so, at present, joins Suzuki and Aprilia in only having a factory team for 2019.

However both Yamaha and increasingly Suzuki are expected to sign new satellite deals.


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