Johann Zarco says he is excited by the prospect of coming forward two generations of Ducati machinery when he steps up from the Avintia Racing squad to join Pramac Racing for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.

Ahead of his home French MotoGP at Le Mans, Zarco was confirmed to be stepping up to the official satellite Ducati team for 2021, the reward for his eye-catching outings aboard a privateer Ducati GP19 that yielded a pole position and podium at Brno.

It marks a positive step forward for Zarco after a tumultuous 18 months that began with his exit from KTM six months into a two-year deal before a stand-in stint at LCR Honda didn’t impress enough for the factory Repsol outfit to take a chance on him to replace the retiring Jorge Lorenzo.

Facing the prospect of a move back to Moto2 - a title he has already won on two occasions - Zarco landed a last-minute deal with Ducati, who placed him at Avintia Racing at the behest of Karel Abraham. Despite his year-old machinery though, Zarco has performed above and beyond expectations, and reportedly only just missed out on the factory Ducati ride to Pecco Bagnaia.

Nonetheless, with Ducati to continue its new-for-2020 strategy of supplying Pramac with what will be two on-spec GP21 bikes, Zarco is happy to still get a current bike beneath him regardless of who prepares it.

“It makes me feel good to know where I’m going next year and on a winning bike. I am sure I still have many things to learn on the Ducati. For the last few races the work was good but on the Sunday I didn’t get a good result, so I still need to put everything together, but I think I am in a good way. 

“Thanks to Ducati, all the things I am going to do to the end of the season are going to be useful for next year and I am also happy for Pecco, he showed the factory teams he was for them, but I will get a similar bike for next year [anyway].”