UPDATE: Avintia has now issued a press release confirming Johann Zarco's arrival alongside Tito Rabat for the 2020 MotoGP season.

As rumoured, the Frenchman has signed a one-year deal directly with the Ducati factory, while Avintia 'will be joined by two-track engineers and two Ducati Corse electronics [engineers]' to assist with the running of their GP19 machines.

Raúl Romero, owner of the Reale Avintia Racing Team: “I am really happy and excited with the arrival of a great rider like Johann Zarco to our team from the hand of Ducati. This further strengthens the growth of the team after extending the contract with the Manufacturer of Borgo Panigale, making a leap of quality in terms of material by becoming a satellite team. All this package will allow to reflect in the circuits the effort of the structure in the last years. We hope to see Johann and Tito assiduously in the top ten and become a reference team soon. Finally, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their efforts in recent years, without them this would not have been possible.”

Johann Zarco's MotoGP future has finally been settled after 'officially' announcing that he has signed to join Avintia Ducati for the 2020 season.

The Frenchman's Instagram post (below) added that his ankle is healing well, after being swept off his feet by the sliding bike of Iker Lecuona in the Valencia season finale, and that he will start training very soon.

Zarco had been angling to take over Jorge Lorenzo's vacant seat at Repsol Honda next season, but lost out to Alex Marquez and will instead ride his fourth different brand of machine in just over a year.

Add in a private test for Suzuki in June 2016, prior to signing for Tech3 Yamaha, and Zarco will have ridden for every MotoGP manufacturer except Aprilia.

The Avintia deal is the final twist after a dramatic 2019 for the Frenchman, the first half of which was spent struggling to adapt to a factory KTM after six podiums on a Tech3 Yamaha.

By mid-season Zarco had been granted an early release from the second year of his contract. But, although hoping to see out this season, was then dropped by KTM in favour of Mika Kallio from Aragon.

A future Yamaha MotoGP test deal looked possible, but the mercurial 29-year-old instead rolled the dice as an injury replacement for Takaaki Nakagami at LCR Honda.

While insisting there was no Honda agreement beyond the final three races, growing rumours over Lorenzo's future were an added incentive to impress.

But while Zarco did a solid job and looked favourite to replace Lorenzo, at a time when most MotoGP riders are already under contract, the pendulum swung heavily in Alex Marquez's direction as the Valencia weekend went on.

French GP promoter Claude Michy and even Dorna's Carmelo Ezpeleta then pushed to find an alternative MotoGP seat for Zarco.

But the #5 initially turned down the only viable option, at back-the-field Avintia, saying he was wary of repeating his KTM misery and would rather return to Moto2 (Marc VDS being in need of a replacement for Alex Marquez).

However further talks between Zarco and Ducati reassured the double Moto2 champion about the quality of machinery and team personal he would receive at Avintia, which has announced closer ties with the Ducati factory in 2020.

And when Karel Abraham announced his MotoGP exit, having been informed he would not remain with Avintia for 2020, it cleared the way for Zarco's arrival.

As well as helping out Michy and Ezpeleta, Dall’Igna might be keen to see a rider closely linked to Jorge Lorenzo's smooth riding style back on a Desmosedici.

Zarco will need to wait until February's Sepang test for his first Ducati laps, MotoE's Eric Granado having stood in alongside Tito Rabat during the final test of 2019, at Jerez in November.

In a recent interview with Moto Journal, Zarco revealed that his contract will be directly with Ducati, where he now aims to secure a factory ride for 2021.

 

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