An exciting surprise looms on the KTM MotoGP team for 2023: both rookies, veterans Miller and Paul Espargaro. What is he talking about this plan?
In all likelihood, KTM will need a place for Miller on the Red Bull Factory team alongside Brad Bender. Paul Espargaro is also expected to return from Honda. That’s why Miguel Oliveira was offered a place on KTM-Tech3. But the Portuguese have not been able to cope with that yet. But a look at the results shows: Miller finished fourth in the 2021 MotoGP World Championships, and was fourth in the World Championships ahead of the Mugello GP ahead of Bagnaya. He could drive anytime in 2023 at Pramac-Ducati, with Martin and Zarco now vying for pole position and podiums on good days.
But in Mugello, he heard that Jack Miller and Ducati had not yet agreed on the term of the contract (he wants two years, Ducati one) and that the move from Lenovo to Pramac would also be accompanied by a painful salary cut.
That’s why Miller is ready to ride in Red Bull-KTM in 2023 and sign a two-year contract with the manufacturer in Upper Austria, in which he won seven Moto3 races in 2014 and lost the title to Alex Márquez by just two points.
Pit Beirer, director of KTM Motorsport, declined to confirm this deal to SPEEDWEEK.com in Mugello; But he did not deny it. “Jack says he won three MotoGP races and finished fourth in the world championships last year,” Perrier said.
Miller’s opponent Miguel Oliveira started a winning streak at Mugello in 2021 with second place, which culminated a week later with wins in the Catalonia GP and continued with places 2 and 5 at Sachsen and Assen. But then the Portuguese crashed hard in FP1 at Spielberg. He suffered a traumatic injury to his hand that prevented him from performing at his best for weeks.
This contributed to the Portuguese rider taking just two of the top 10 spots in the dry race in 11 months: fifth at Portimão 2022 and ninth at Mugello on Sunday.
Oliveira: “The place of my dreams is not available”
But Miguel Oliveira has four MotoGP wins on his KTM RC16, double the number of wins for current teammate Bender. This is why he didn’t want to be ousted from the Red Bull KTM MotoGP team, despite winning twice in 2020 on the Tech3 customer team – at Spielberg and Portimão.
Oliveira and his father, director Paolo Paolo, are also looking at other options. But there are no very attractive job postings: LCR-Honda, Gresini-Ducati, WithU-RNF-Aprilia, these are not attractive destinations when it comes to driver fees and long-term perspectives. Because at KTM, Oliveira could return to the Red Bull team after a year of strong showings.
“She offered me a place at Tech3-KTM before the Mugello GP,” Oliveira admitted. “I think about it, but it’s not the place of my dreams.”
What is the dream place? “No longer available,” said the 2015 Moto3 runner-up (six points behind Danny Kent) and the 2018 Moto2 runner-up (nine points behind Bajnaya).
So everything indicates that Red Bull-KTM has already decided to choose Miller as a member of the Binder team, as SPEEDWEEK.com reported on Saturday.
Since meanwhile Paco Sanchez, technical director of Remy Gardner, made himself unpopular with a failed interview at KTM when he criticized the Australian 2023 financial bid and criticized the quality of Tech3’s technical staff, the KTM Tech3 team is now making surprising progress as well.
“In addition to Covid, driver managers such as Paco Sanchez are the biggest epidemic at the moment,” Pit Beirer stated in an interview with SPEEDWEEK.com.
You don’t have to be a prophet to find a basis for discussion here for contract negotiations.
Therefore, a separation between Gardner and KTM is to be expected, even if Pit Beirer laments as he testifies that the Moto2 world champion can make his way in MotoGP.
At the same time, KTM’s interest in a new collaboration with Rául Fernández has fallen sharply. The 21-year-old Spaniard, who won two Moto3 races in Fall 2020 and eight Moto2 races in 2021 as a rookie, gets nowhere in the “First Division”. He has no points after eight races, had bad crashes a few times, lost all self-confidence, and gave the engineers no clues and no technical input.
To make matters worse: Raul’s business is managed by a management company with four directors, and his strong father Carlos is also actively involved. For example, in the fall he insisted, sometimes loudly, that his younger brother Adrian should get a contract with Red Bull-KTM for the 2022 Moto3 World Championship. It was a WM-22. At the Husqvarna factory, the 18-year-old Spaniard from the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team is back for 22nd in the World Championship.
In addition, KTM officials such as Stefan Pierer, Hubert Trunkenpolz and Pit Beirer have made it clear several times: Drivers will only get overwhelmed with choices if they truly believe in the MotoGP project unconditionally. That’s why, for example, Jorge Martin was released to Pramac-Ducati for 2021 and Johann Zarco was released in 2019 after the Misano GP.
KTM: Less Appetite for Beginners
After the recent events, KTM has lost interest in the entry-level experience. The Austrians are tempted to develop the KTM RC16 with four top riders next season so it can become an entry-level machine like the Ducati Desmosedici.
With Pol Espargaró making no secret of his desire to return to KTM after two years at Repsol Honda (a podium finish so far), there is a strong rider duo on the horizon for 2023 on the KTM Tech3 team – with Miguel Oliveira and Paul Espargaro, who have finished two top spots and five places Third and fifth place in the World Championship with KTM in 14 races in 2020.
Pit Beirer recently confirmed his interest in Pol Espargaró. “Paul had a very strong influence on the MotoGP project from 2017 to 2020. With his help, we got where we are,” the KTM strategist stated.
“Each of these candidates has exceptional skills,” added the 250cc motocross world champion and 1999 runner-up, whose current Oliveira crew chief Paul Trevathan of New Zealand served as mechanic.
MotoGP Mugello results (May 29):
1. Pico Bagnaia, Ducati, 23 laps in 41: 18.923 minutes
2. Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha, +0.635 s
3. Alex Espargaro, Aprilia, +1.983
4. Johann Zarco, Ducati +2,590
5. Marco Bizzichi, Ducati +3.067
6. Luca Marini, Ducati +3.875
7- Brad Binder, KTM, +4.067.0000
8. Takaaki Nakagami – Honda +10.944
9. Miguel Oliveira, KTM +11.256
10. Marc Marquez, Honda +11800
11. Fabio Di Giannatonio, Ducati +12.916
12- Maverick Vinales, Aprilia, +12917
13. George Martin, Ducati +17,240
14. Alex Marquez, Honda +17.568
15. Jack Miller, Ducati, +17.687
16. Darren Bender, Yamaha +20.265
17. Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha, +20.296
18- Michele Perot, Ducati, +21.305
19. Remy Gardner, KTM, +30.548
20. Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha, +31.011
21- Raul Fernandez, KTM, +42.723
22. Lorenzo Savadore, Aprilia, one lap
– Ina Bastianini, Ducati, 10 laps down
– Alex Raines, Suzuki, 16 laps down
– Joan Mir, Suzuki, 16 laps down
– Paul Espargaro, Honda, 19 laps back
Drivers’ Championship standings after 8 of 20 Grand Prix:
1. Quarteraro 122 points. 2 Aleix Espargaró 114 3 Bastianini 94 4 Bagnaia 81 5 Zarco 75 6 Rins 69 7 Brad Binder 65 8 Miller 63 9 Marc Marquez 60 10 Mir 56 11 Oliveira 50 12 Pol Espargaró 40 13 Nakagami 38 14 Viñales 37 15 Martin 31 16 Marini 31 17 Bezzecchi 30 18 Alex Marquez 20 19 Morbidelli 19 20 Di Giannantonio 8 21. Dovizioso 8. 21. Darryn Binder 6. 23. Gardner 3.
1. Ducati 181 points. 2. Yamaha 122. 3. Aprilia 115. 4. KTM 93. 5. Suzuki 80. 6. Honda 75.
Team World Cup:
1. Aprilia Racing 151 points. 2. Ducati Lenovo 144. 3. Monster Energy Yamaha 141. 4. Suzuki Ecstar 125. 5. Red Bull KTM Factory 115. 6. Prima Pramac Racing 106. 7. Gresini Racing 102. 8. Repsol Honda 100. 9. Mooney VR46 Racing 61st 10th LCR Honda 58th 11th WithU Yamaha RNF 14th 12th Tech3 KTM Factory 3rd