Tech3 to switch to KTM for 2019 MotoGP season after Yamaha split

MotoGP privateer outfit Tech3 will link up with KTM from the 2019 season onwards, following its decision to split with long-time partner Yamaha.

The French team has fielded Yamaha bikes in grand prix motorcycle racing’s premier class since 2001, but announced in February it would part ways with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of this year.

KTM announced on Monday that Tech3 would join its camp and run a pair of RC16 bikes in 2019, becoming the Austrian firm’s first satellite team in MotoGP.

“We are very happy to join forces with Tech 3 in MotoGP from 2019 onwards,” said KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer.

“The team has many years of experience and achieved a lot of great results in the championship. Their professional structure will make us stronger.”

KTM completed its debut season as a works team in MotoGP last year, ending up fifth in the manufacturers’ standings with a best finish of ninth.

Prior to the announcement of the KTM deal, Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal revealed his team has reached a three-year agreement that entitled his outfit to “exactly the same spec” of bikes as those fielded by the works team.

Beirer added: “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 starting a great cooperation and I’m thankful towards Herve Poncharal for the future trust in KTM.”

KTM fields factory riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder in the supporting Moto2 class, although neither KTM or its new partner Tech3 have confirmed any rider plans beyond the end of the 2018 season.

Tech3 will field Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin in its final MotoGP season with Yamaha, with the latter drafted in as a late replacement for the ill Jonas Folger.

Zarco enjoyed a breakthrough rookie season on a Tech3 Yamaha last year, finishing fifth overall, and is known to be on KTM’s radar for 2019.

He has been a frontrunner throughout all of MotoGP’s 2018 pre-season testing, and set the fastest time in the final test in Qatar.

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