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Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal reckons his former rider Johann Zarco can help KTM become a top MotoGP team, drawing parallels with the rise of Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati.
Zarco has joined the factory KTM team for the 2019 season after two years on Tech3-run satellite Yamahas.
Poncharal, whose team fielded Dovizioso in 2012, compared Zarco to the Italian regarding his attitude and bike development skills.
Dovizioso joined the struggling Ducati team in 2013 and has since helped the factory to become one of the top outfits in MotoGP, and Poncharal thinks Zarco can do the same at KTM.
“There are a lot of common points between Zarco and Dovizioso,” said Poncharal. “They don’t behave like superstars, prima donnas, they are very close to their guys.
“They are good to make a group behind you, supporting you, to motivate them and I believe Johann can do that inside KTM, a bit like what Andrea did with Ducati.
“Johann lives MotoGP, 100 percent of his time, he is a very hard worker, he is a very good technician. He’s very good at analysing what is going on the track, he can pass the technical information quite well to the team.”
Poncharal believes Ducati’s resurgence in recent years has been thanks to Dovizioso and technical chief Gigi Dall’Igna.
He recalled: “Andrea has been working with us, he was not renewed with HRC [after 2011] and he was brave enough and very good to, when we were negotiating, to tell me ‘Herve, I want to be with you, I want to be riding a Yamaha, I think it would suit my riding style’.
“And he did really well, and we got on really well. If now Ducati is considered maybe the best bike on the grid, it is thanks to Gigi Dall’Igna, but also to Dovizioso, honestly.”
Poncharal feels KTM has “everything you need to win” with Tech3’s highly-rated crew chief Guy Coulon, who is teaming up with Miguel Oliveira, joining the Austrian firm’s stable as well as Zarco.
“We had Pol [Espargaro] for three years also, they have very different riding styles and at the moment what KTM needs is more data, more feedback,” said Poncharal.
“Johann has a lot more experience than our two guys and together with Pol, because don’t underestimate Pol, together they can help KTM to grow.
“Clearly, inside KTM there is everything you need to win. They have the budget, the engineers, the passion, they just need a bit more time and more people, riders, technicians, and I think Guy Coulon, also Nicolas Goyon [Hafizh Syahrin’s crew chief] they have good expertise.
“Together with Mike Leitner all of them also are going to for sure speed up the process, development.
“I don’t want to say anything, I don’t know what we’re going to do because the competition is very high, but there is no reason why we couldn’t grow together with KTM and this is our target.”