Espargaro: "Brave" Zarco/KTM split good for both parties

Pol Espargaro says MotoGP teammate Johann Zarco’s departure from KTM at the end of this season was the “right decision” for both rider and team.

Espargaro: "Brave" Zarco/KTM split good for both parties

Zarco sensationally asked KTM to release him from his two-year deal at the end of the last round in Austria, amid a tough campaign aboard the RC16 which has yielded just one top 10 finish from the first 11 events.

Espargaro says he was aware of Zarco’s decision before it was made public, and praised his “very brave move”, while also acknowledging the split is best given his teammate’s current state of mind.

“He told me he was not having a good time,” Espargaro said when asked if Zarco had spoken to him about the decision.

“He was not happy and to ride this bike you need to enjoy it. As soon as you are not enjoying it, you are not fast.

“He was not in a good moment, a very bad moment, he was not happy and this was a right decision for both sides.

“But anyway it is very hard and very brave decision from Johann's side. I don't know anybody who has done this before. From both sides, it is a very brave movement.”

KTM offered Jack Miller Zarco’s seat when it looked like Jorge Lorenzo could take Miller's Pramac Ducati ride – though the Australian has since re-signed with the customer Ducati squad.

Currently, Tech 3 KTM rookie Miguel Oliveira is the likely candidate to partner Espargaro, but he is still contracted to Herve Poncharal’s squad for 2020.

Commenting on this, Oliveira says his “obligation” is to Tech3 until KTM says otherwise, and insists he would not take offence if the second works team KTM went to another rider.

“I know my obligations are with Tech 3 for 2020 at the moment,” he said. “Obviously it was a surprise for everyone to hear Zarco is not taking part in the team next year, he’s a great loss for the project, because he’s a fantastic rider – not only professionally, but also personal side.

“He’s in a tough situation at the moment. I know this could be an opportunity but it’s not up to me to decide.

“My obligations are here [at Tech 3] and I will continue to believe that way until they prove to me [it’s] the other way around. It’s quite simple.

“Since May, I know what I’m doing in 2020, this is my way of thinking. This situation is quite new, last week we were all shocked about the news.

“For sure there needs to be some restructuring, but it’s not possible in one week. We need to wait and see the decisions, but if the decision comes it will be very quick, it will be quite simple.”

In the immediate aftermath of Zarco’s announcement, KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa moved to quell any speculation he could come out of retirement to take his place next season.

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein

shares
comments
Miller admits KTM 2020 chance was "tough to turn down"

Previous article

Miller admits KTM 2020 chance was "tough to turn down"

Next article

Zarco feared "failing my career" by staying with KTM

Zarco feared "failing my career" by staying with KTM
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Johann Zarco , Pol Espargaro
Teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Author Lewis Duncan
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021