Abraham announces MotoGP exit as Zarco's 2020 deal looms
MotoGP regular Karel Abraham says he is out of a ride for 2020 and will conclude his career in the premier class, paving the way for Johann Zarco's full-time return.
A MotoGP regular in privateer machinery since 2011, albeit having taken a year off to race for BMW in World Superbikes, Abraham had a deal in place with Avintia Ducati for the 2020 season to continue competing alongside teammate Tito Rabat.
However, his place on next year's grid was thrown into doubt when Zarco emerged as a candidate for an Avintia ride, having split with KTM and then been overlooked for a Repsol Honda place in favour of Alex Marquez.
Zarco had admitted a lack of interest in joining Avintia during the final grand prix weekend of the year in Valencia, but since held further talks with Ducati, which has extended its deal with the customer team and is poised to provide it expanded technical support.
Local media reported that Abraham informed attendees at a Saturday meet-and-greet at Czech Grand Prix venue Brno that his 2020 deal was set to be terminated, and that he would not continue as a MotoGP rider.
A social media message from Brno, which is owned by his father Karel Abraham Sr., read: "Karel Abraham announced the end of his MotoGP career in a meeting with fans. It is a sad day for all domestic fans.
"We appreciate that we've had the opportunity to keep our fingers crossed watching a rider competing under the Czech flag for so long."
Abraham took to his personal account a day after to thank fans for tributes, adding that his impending exit has made him "angry, very disappointed and especially sad".
He also posted a video of himself arriving to the pitlane after the season finale at Valencia, captioned with: "This is the last video of me on the MotoGP bike. At the time I had no idea I was going to enjoy my last laps on the 'beast'. Goodbye."
Reached out to for comment, Avintia has promised an update the following week, suggesting an agreement with Zarco may not yet be in place in time for the start of the final two-day test of the year at Jerez on Monday.
Abraham, a race winner in Moto2 in 2010, has amassed 122 starts in MotoGP, posting a best finish of seventh.
The Czech GP has had its deal with MotoGP extended this year, but only through 2020.
Prior to the latest developments, Zarco had expressed a potential preference for the Marc VDS Moto2 ride that has been vacated by Marquez following his Repsol Honda call-up.
But with the Frenchman now expected to continue in the premier class, Marc VDS has been exploring other options to fill its top-line Moto2 ride, with the likes of rising intermediate-class star Augusto Fernandez, veteran Mattia Pasini and World Superbike racer Sandro Cortese having been linked to the seat.
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