Johann Zarco can do at KTM what Andrea Dovizioso did at Ducati – Herve Poncharal

Tech3 MotoGP boss Herve Poncharal believes Johann Zarco can do at KTM what Andrea Dovizioso has done at Ducati in terms of bike development during his tenure. 

Zarco joins the factory KTM squad after two years with Tech3 in 2019, having been courted by the likes of Honda early in 2018.

The Frenchman has already completed four test days aboard the RC16, though was close to two seconds off the pace at the end of both tests as he struggled to adapt to the KTM. 

Dovizioso struggled when he joined Ducati in 2013, but has slowly helped the team develop what Poncharal believes is the “best bike on the grid”, and says Zarco can do the same at KTM in time. 

“The Ducati is considered the best bike on the grid: that’s thanks to [Ducati general manager] Gigi Dall’igna, but also to Andrea Dovizioso,” Poncharal said. 

“There are a lot of common points between Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso. They don’t behave like superstar primadonnas. 

“They’re close to their guys. They’re good at making a group behind you, supporting you, to motivate them. 

“I believe Johann can do that with KTM, like Andrea did with Ducati. Johann lives MotoGP 100% of his time. 

“He’s a very hard worker, a good technician. He has a good analysis of what’s going on on-track, and he informs us of technical information well to the team.”

Poncharal's Tech3 team will also join forces with KTM in 2019 after ending a 20-year partnership with Yamaha, while switching from its own chassis to the Austrian marque's in Moto2.

He says he is “proud” to begin this new project, and admits the “level of passion” is something he has “rarely” seen.

“This is a very exciting moment and we feel very proud to be part of that project,” he added.

“The podium Pol [Espargaro] did in Valencia, not a lot of people can imagine the boost it gave to the factory. 

“They had a fantastic day, winning Moto3, winning Moto2 and finally on the MotoGP podium, which wasn’t expected. 

“It was an incredible feeling. When you go into that garage, when you talk to all these guys, the level of commitment, the level of passion, the level of trust is something that isn’t just because [the team] is new. 

“I’ve very rarely seen those things.”