While teams like Suzuki and Aprilia are not yet ready to respect the wishes of Dorna, the MotoGP promoter, and to bring a second team to the premier class, Ducati is increasingly taking control of the grid, given that it will field eight bikes next season. .
An expansion that has left some rivals unhappy, who fear that the Borgo Panigale manufacturer will enjoy an enormous wealth of data on which its engineers can work, but that it can also earn a prominent position on the drivers’ market by being able to count on so many saddles.
One of the brands that has probably been most impressed is KTM, because it starts to have a lot of talents under contract, with the risk of not having enough bikes for everyone in MotoGP.
Brad Binder is under contract until the end of 2024; Remy Gardner And Raul Fernandez until the end of 2023; Pedro Acosta he will race in Moto2 for two years and will make the leap to MotoGP in 2024. Not to mention Miguel Oliveira, who has practically been part of the KTM family since forever. The Austrians, therefore, have done their math and are aware that they need a fifth bike in the medium term if they do not want to lose any of their riders.
“As soon as we have the feeling that our two teams are stable and performing, we want a third team in MotoGP,” Pit Beirer, KTM’s head of motorsport, told Speedweek.
With Dorna not seeming willing to assign new places on the grid, KTM should find a partner among the teams already present to expand its commitment. But it is an operation he already did in 2019, when he ripped Tech3 to Yamaha, ending a twenty-year partnership to make it its satellite team.
Before reaching an agreement with the French structure, Beirer had made an attempt with the LCR of Lucio Cecchinello, a team linked to Honda since his arrival in MotoGP.
“We negotiated with Lucio a few years ago, but he seems to be a very loyal partner to Honda, so we’ve never had an in-depth conversation,” admitted Beirer, perhaps sensing that loyalty may not be as unshakable this year.
“We have not actively sought another partner in recent years, because Dorna has informed us that they would like each manufacturer to have only one satellite team,” continued the KTM racing boss.
“That’s why we took a step back when we noticed that something was happening with Avintia and Gresini,” he said, recalling that initially the Spanish team seemed destined to lose its place on the grid and the Italian team instead to stay with Aprilia.
In the end, however, Avintia’s place was assigned to VR46 and Aprilia became a factory team, so both the Tavullia and Gresini structures joined the Borgo Panigale army.
“Now Ducati will have four teams and we will have two for the next two seasons, so we feel a bit like they’ve misinformed us,” he said belligerently.
“Clearly, you have some power when you have four teams and provide a third of the grid,” he concluded without hiding his disappointment.