Yamaha would benefit from Zarco on 2018 bike - Poncharal
Tech 3 MotoGP boss Herve Poncharal reckons his rider Johann Zarco has earned a 2018-spec Yamaha for next year, and says the Japanese manufacturer could also benefit from such a move.
Zarco enjoyed a breakthrough rookie season in 2017, beating the struggling factory Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales with a year-old bike on numerous occasions.
The Frenchman's performances prompted speculation he could be handed a 2018 M1 next season, with Rossi advising him to steer clear of the troubled 2017 machine should it be offered to him.
Yamaha has yet to confirm which bike the Frenchman will ride next year, but Poncharal reckons that Zarco getting a factory bike could benefit the works team as well as his own.
"Clearly for us [Tech 3], for the rider, it would be really good," Poncharal told MotoGP.com. "But also for Yamaha.
"In Moto2, the strength of Kalex was that they had so many riders, they could get so much information from them and they could develop more, better and faster.
"For me, this is clear that if you have three riders you get 33 percent more information.
"And now Johann is no more a rookie, Johann is a top MotoGP rider. He has got the experience he's got the feeling and they know how technical and good his comments are.
"It would be good if he could get factory support from Yamaha but at the end of the day he will be followed and supported in 2018."
Keeping Zarco post-2018 "very difficult"
Like the majority of the MotoGP field, Zarco's contract expires at the end of 2018, and Poncharal admits it will be "very difficult" to retain him after that.
The two-time Moto2 champion is already reportedly on KTM's radar for 2019 and is also considered a a top candidate to replace Rossi should the Italian retire after next season.
"Something we can't underestimate is, all the contracts are ending, we know that most of the talk to prepare for 2019 has already started," said Poncharal.
"Clearly there is some interest around Johann for 2019 to become a full factory rider. It will be sad if we don't keep him, but I also understand.
"It would be good to retain him if we could have a full factory bike, same level of support as the two factory Yamaha riders. But if that doesn't happen, even though it would be sad, what do we want for Johann?
"We want him to continue growing and the last step is to be with a full factory team. My whole budget is maybe 30 percent less than the salary of the top MotoGP guys.
"We are only a satellite operation, and even if we have a good bike and a good crew there is also some financial reward that needs to be happening for guys like Johann."
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