Tech 3 Yamaha has announced that reigning Moto2 champion Johann Zarco will ride for the team in MotoGP next season, completing the squad's 2017 line-up.
The 25-year-old joins fellow intermediate class rider Jonas Folger as part of a one-year agreement, with an option for a second in 2018.
They will form the first all-rookie pairing Tech 3 has fielded since its first season at the top level in 2001, when it ran 250cc graduates Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano.
Zarco and Folger replace Tech 3's outgoing duo of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, who will reprise their partnership at the all-new KTM factory team next year.
"It goes without saying that I am very happy to join the MotoGP class with Tech 3 and I am confident that we can form a solid partnership," said Zarco, who will inherit Smith's current crew chief Guy Coulon.
"The team has a deep relationship and long history with Yamaha and they have proved that they can manage well in every situation and have had a good package year after year.
"This pleases me and it gives me extra motivation for reaching my targets in the 2017 season."
Zarco won the Moto2 title in 2015 in dominant style, sealing honours with three races to spare after nearest rival Tito Rabat was forced to miss three of the last four races from injury.
He followed in Rabat's footsteps by staying in the intermediate category to defend his title, spurning offers to graduate to MotoGP in 2016, and is currently tied at the top of this year's standings with Alex Rins.
The Frenchman had tested for Suzuki as part of a pre-agreement with the manufacturer, which also included a chance to race in the Suzuka 8 Hours, but in the end he was passed up for one of two factory seats in favour of Rins.
A potential deal to ride a satellite Suzuki, possibly run by the LCR team, also came to nothing.
2017 MotoGP grid so far:
|Tech 3 Yamaha|| |
|LCR Honda||Cal Crutchlow|
|Marc VDS Honda|| |
|Pramac Ducati|| |
|Avintia Ducati|| |
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