August 12, 2019 / 7:52 AM / 11 days ago

Motorcycling: Zarco to leave KTM at end of MotoGP season

FILE PHOTO: MotoGP - Czech Republic Grand Prix - Automotodrom Brno, Brno, Czech Republic - August 3, 2019 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Johann Zarco in action during qualifying REUTERS/David W Cerny

(Reuters) - French MotoGP rider Johann Zarco will leave KTM at the end of the season, the Austrian factory team announced on Monday.

Zarco, a double Moto2 champion and MotoGP rookie of the year in 2017, joined at the end of last year from Tech3 Yamaha on a two-year contract but the partnership has struggled.

“Zarco tried to adapt his riding style to the KTM RC16 and the team tried relentlessly to mould the #5 machine to the Frenchman’s wishes and requirements,” KTM said in a statement.

“Ultimately both Johann and the team decided not to proceed with their joint project for 2020 and will now focus on giving the maximum for the final eight rounds and remaining months of MotoGP 2019.”

Zarco, 29, is 17th in the standings with a mere 22 points after Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix while Spanish team mate Pol Espergaro is 11th with 61.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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