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Avintia Ducati Terminates Relationship with Karel Abraham, Reportedly to Make Room for Johann Zarco

Avintia Ducati has terminated its relationship with rider Karel Abraham, leaving a MotoGP grid position open for the possible signing of Johann Zarco. After terminating his relationship with KTM last year, Zarco was contracted for a short, three-race guest ride aboard a satellite Honda that ended when he crashed out of the season finale last Sunday at Valencia. Zarco suffered an injury to his left ankle when he was struck by another rider’s bike in the gravel trap at Valencia.

With Abraham out, it was thought Zarco might even participate in the Jerez MotoGP test currently underway, but he has not appeared. Zarco’s injury may have prevented his participation, in any event.

The unsigned Zarco was reportedly courted by Ducati. Zarco’s potential as a MotoGP rider is unquestioned. Upon first entering the class, he excelled on a Yamaha, but struggled this past season aboard a factory KTM, which he never became comfortable with. Part of any deal with Avintia may involve Zarco receiving Ducati factory-level support, or something near to this. Stay tuned for any official announcement on Avintia’s signing of Zarco.

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  1. deckard says:

    Zarco is an idiot Frenchman wearing the Japanese Rising Sun flag on his helmet.

  2. Beatrice Kiddo says:

    This gotta be the most awkward picture I’ve seen, that forced smile… and what’s up with the fist?

  3. Jeremy says:

    That is a pretty low way to try and hook a good rider. I feel bad for Abraham. I understand that Ducati agreed to provide Avintia with spec GP19s (potentially a GP20 for Zarco if the rumor mill is to be believed) and factory satellite support if they ousted Abraham, all without any commitment from Zarco, just to try to lure him into a deal.

    Vacant seat, good bike, good support. It’s nasty business, but Zarco would be nuts to turn it down.

  4. Delmartian says:

    Mickey – What “trick” was Ducati using to sign Zarco to the team ?

    • mickey says:

      From what I read offering Avinta a GP 20 if they canned Abraham and signed Zarco

      • mickey says:

        After watching an interview wiith Xaus he said both sides of the garage would get GP 19s but that they were still negotiating with Ducati.

  5. Delmartian says:

    Let’s hope Zarco recovers quickly from his ankle injury and it doesn’t prevent him from getting up to speed quickly on the Ducati. it’s hard enough to ride even when 100% healthy. :-/

  6. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I wonder if he wishes he was still on the YZR-M1.

  7. viktor92 says:

    What the Avintia team has done to Karel Abraham is shameful.
    Maybe Zarco has found his “soul mates”, in particular Xaus…

    • HS1... says:

      I am no fan of how Zarco acted out with KTM, but Abraham is also far from being a character worthy of sympathy. His only credential for ever getting on a MotoGP bike was being able to bring his dad’s sponsorship money into teams needing it. He was strictly a pay to play prince.

      Contracts with these kind of guys have been around about as long as organized motor sports. They usually have easy-outs as they exist simply for financial expedience. Still, as a Ducati fan I’d rather have Abraham riding slowly than Zarco’s stink associated with the brand.

    • Dave says:

      I don’t know the particulars of how Karel was released but he should not have held a MotoGP seat for so long in the 1st place. While competent, he’s never been competitive. His dad owns the Brno circuit so I’m sure he’ll land on his feet, perhaps in Moto2 or WSBK.

      • Motoman says:

        I agree with you Dave. Although I think Karel seemed like a great guy when he was interviewed (very well spoken young guy and attorney I think), I thought he brought some money to the team to get his rides. Sure he’s faster than me though…..

      • mickey says:

        Abraham had a contract with Avintia thru 2020. From an interview he gave, Abraham said they sent him an email in Spanish which he doesn’t speak,and he had to use an internet translator to find out he had been canned. He tried texting Xaus, his boss at Avintia for clarifications and he wouldn’t answer his texts. Finally Abraham texted and asked if he was supposed to show up for testing at Jerez and Xaus answered not to come.

        I was never a fan of Abrahams and wondered how he managed to stay in that seat for so long, but apparently it was due to him bringing in so much sponsorship money, but I also don’t believe in treating people disrespectfully especially those I have signed a contract with, and believe he was treated very disrespectfully with regards to this matter.

        • Dave says:

          That certainly seems like a raw deal and very unbecoming of a professional GP team. I guess we can bet on them getting the least desirable pit stall when they go to Brno next year.

        • Motoman says:

          Jeez. Think they could have at least softened the blow for the guy. Wonder if Avintia would have been able to run two bikes without his money?

        • HS1... says:

          Xaus explicitly denies this. He stated that they were in constant discussion. It’s hard to know how this really went down.

  8. mickey says:

    Seems like Ducati will pull any trick to try and get a top rider. I hope Divisioso finds a Suzuki or Yamaha to ride and shows Ducati the way around a race track.

    • Superlight says:

      All of the manufacturers want top level riders for their machines. Where would Honda be without Marquez? I’d guess Dovi will stick with Ducati.

  9. mickey says:

    You’re kidding. Not saying Karel was any threat to front runners, but the way the Avinta team let him go was low class. Zarco just mouthed off about not riding for Avinta because they weren’t a top team,and they sure proved it..and now he’s going to ride for them? How does the dirt taste down there Johan, crawling on your belly like that over a fellow rider for a ride? I’m really dissapointed in Zarco.

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