Zarco likely to lead the MotoGP seat swaps with works KTM deal

Picture: Gold&Goose

Johann Zarco is in the frame to follow his current Tech3 team to the KTM brand for the next two MotoGP seasons but he will join the factory team as a likely replacement for Bradley Smith.

Although not yet official, Zarco has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Austrian manufacturer and will ride alongside Pol Espargaro for the 2019-2020 seasons.

Whether Smith will be dropped altogether or given a place in the satellite team is now the subject of speculation as it is thought KTM boss Pit Beirer wants to promote Miguel Oliveira and he could be joined by Xavier Vierge.

Another promotion from Moto2 will be Alex Marquez with the paddock jungle drums putting him in the garage next door to his brother. Honda want to keep the younger wunderkind and, as Marc VDS will soon announce a deal with Suzuki, it is the only place for him.

A change for the Aspar team to Yamaha is likely to be finalised, if not signed and announced at Jerez. It is thought that Hafizh Syahrin will remain as a satellite rider and take his Petronas sponsorship across. There will be no places for Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham.

Ducati has made the team a very lucrative offer by all accounts but being second in line to the M1 throne is an opportunity not be passed up, especially if some of the bills are being paid by Petronas.

Andrea Iannone is being lined up as a replacement for Scott Redding at Aprilia but it might not be the end of MotoGP for the Briton as he still has strong ties to Marc VDS and could go back there alongside Franky Morbidelli.

Jorge Lorenzo’s tenure at Ducati looks set to continue but he will apparently have a new crew chief in 2019.

Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon will remain at Avintia Ducati.

Danilo Petrucci’s chances of a factory ride are fairly slim but with Alex Rins already done but not announced at Suzuki, a seat there could be his last chance. Dani Pedrosa is also in that mix as well as the satellite Yamaha outfit.

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