At KTM, it became clear that in 2023 Brad Bender and Jack Miller would make up the Red Bull team and Miguel Oliveira would drive the Tech3. Pit Beirer has revealed what he’s talking about a commitment from the Australian.
KTM has not yet been officially confirmed in what form the factory will appear in the 2023 MotoGP World Championships. Red Bull-KTM is riding Brad Bender and Miguel Oliveira this season, while the KTM Tech3 Factory Racing team has Moto2 World Champion Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, who has won eight Moto2 races last year and finished second in the world championship.
According to the latest research from SPEEDWEEK.com, a 2023 Red Bull-KTM pairing is on the cards with Brad Bender and Jack Miller, while four-time MotoGP winner Miguel Oliveira is set to return to Hervé Poncharal’s Tech3 team. Whether Gardner or Fernandes will stay there as his teammate is an open question. The results so far speak more in Gardner’s favour. But first, the basis for the discussion between KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer and Gardner Director Paco Sanchez must be restored.
On Friday there were a number of discussions between Gardner, technical director Fabio Sterlacini and technical coordinator Esteban Garcia. A new crew chief may also have to be found for Gardner, as the relationship with Alex Merhand is strained, claims Paco Sanchez.
Pit Beirer admitted a few days ago that KTM was negotiating with Jack Miller, Alex Rins and Pol Espargaró, but when asked by SPEEDWEEK.com in Mugello today, he didn’t want to confirm that a deal with Miller had actually been done. However, the 1999 250cc motocross world champion can’t be denied either.
While Ducati would like to see Miller continue his work at Desmosedici, the Lenovo factory team will consist of Bagnaia and Bastianini going forward. At Team Pramac-Ducati, Miller, who became Moto3 World Champion in 2014 over Red Bull-KTM at Team Ajo with seven GP wins, had to accept a sensitive pay cut. And team owner Aki Ajo has been Jack’s personal manager since then.
“The fact that he finished fourth in the World Cup last year and is now fifth, ahead of Bajnaya speaks volumes about Jack Miller,” Perrier said. “We have good discussions with Jack Miller, but we also talk to Paul and keep talking with Miguel. It would be too early to say anything now. All the mentioned drivers have something very special that appeals to us. Paul played a key role in shaping the MotoGP project from 2017 to 2020 “With his help we got where we are. Meanwhile, we have a four-time GP winner in Miguel. He still has the credit to wrestle with KTM. When the bike was able to win, we were left for another factory; there he followed his childhood dream. Meanwhile, he noted It’s not all easier than it is here. Miller won three MotoGP races. Each of these candidates has exceptional abilities. Now we have to see who fits us better.”
However, there is plenty of evidence at KTM that Binder and Miller will make up the Red Bull duo in 2023 and Oliveira will be persuaded to lead the way in Tech3 going forward. He has already won MotoGP races in Spielberg and Portimão on this race team in 2020. “Yes, Miguel going to Tech3 is one of our options,” Perrier confirmed today. “But only if Miguel is also convinced that it was the right decision. The game is currently open. Only Brad Bender’s place in the Red Bull team has been decided. Everything else is currently being discussed extensively.”
As for Gardner and Fernandes, a decision is not expected until after four more races in late June or July.
Honda’s Paul Espargaro has heard that they want to hire a younger driver, which will likely be Joan Mir. That’s why the 2013 Moto2 World Champion is hoping to return to Red Bull-KTM.
“Today in Mugello VFP3 with Miguel Oliveira we were only a tenth of a second behind world champion and championship leader Fabio Quartararo,” said Pete Perrier. “We had to find the right suspension again on Friday with the new aerodynamics. Despite that, Brad Bender finished seventh and second in the top speed standings after FP2 on Friday. However, we know we have to improve the bike. Ducati shows how It’s done. You have a bike that not only experienced owners but beginners can do their best.”