Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis has revealed Johann Zarco could be offered a factory-spec bike by the Japanese manufacturer for 2019.
Tech3 Yamaha rider Zarco has been linked to several rival factories, namely KTM and Suzuki, off the back of a rookie season in which he regularly challenged and sometimes beat Yamaha’s factory riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
Team boss Herve Poncharal has also expressed hope he could retain Zarco for 2019 in the wake of his new deal to run works-supported KTM machinery from next season.
Although Rossi’s newly-announced contract leaves no room for the French rider at the works team, Jarvis said Zarco could be offered a factory M1 to keep him within the Yamaha fold, as the marque begins its search for a new satellite team.
“He’s very quick, it’s a shame we can only have two bikes in the works team,” Jarvis said of Zarco.
“We already have Maverick and Valentino, so there is no space in the works team.
“But there is the chance to give a works bike to a third rider, so we are thinking about this situation.
“But that will be subject to a new discussion, and a new contract with a new team.”
Jarvis also took the chance to refute suggestions that Tech3 parted ways with Yamaha after 18 years together because the team wasn’t being offered a factory-spec bike.
“I don’t believe Herve left because he didn’t feel support from Yamaha,” he said.
“Herve left because he had a fantastic offer from a competitor that really needs to have a satellite team.
“That offer probably involved many things in terms of bike performance, in terms of finance, stability.
“You have to see the bigger picture and not say Herve left simply because he didn’t get the support from Yamaha.
“It’s true we haven’t provided a factory bike to Johann, but we’ve always respected our policy and our contract.
“And our contract with Herve was not to provide a factory bike.”