Current factory Ducati rider's future confirmed from 2021.
KTM has signed Danilo Petrucci to join Red Bull KTM Tech3 for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship after elevating Miguel Oliveira into the official Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team from next season.
Former Moto2 and Moto3 teammates Brad Binder and Oliveira will be aboard RC16 machinery in the official team, as Iker Lecuona will be partnered by current factory Ducati Team rider Petrucci also on-board works bikes.
“It gives me great pleasure to stick these four hungry guys together for our MotoGP program,” commented Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport director. “Brad and Miguel have a productive working relationship and have shown the talent and the desire to win races through all stages of grand prix. We believe they have the determination necessary to push our MotoGP project forward.
“The same goes for Red Bull KTM Tech3 where we’re happy to bring Danilo into the family. His experience counts for a lot, but we’re also banking on a rider that is committed and with the right attitude. We believe he still has something to show in MotoGP. On one side we are investing in MotoGP front-runners of the future, but they could easily become stars already in 2021 and that would be exciting to see.
“We have two set-ups, but really it is one big team with all four athletes on the same bikes and with the same possibilities. Our riders’ development and success will be a great KTM story and it will taste even sweeter to take these guys to new heights in such a tough competition.”
Oliveira moves into the factory set-up alongside Binder for what will be his third term in MotoGP and his sixth in total with KTM. The 25-year-old will have completed two campaigns as part of Red Bull KTM Tech3, even if 2019 was curtailed with a blameless shoulder problem and 2020 has so far been blighted by repercussions of the COVID-19 virus.
“I’m really happy about this opportunity that KTM have given me for the next two years,” Oliveira said. “I feel that they trust me to show my value as a rider in this project. Since day one I have given my best to the bike and believed in its potential to achieve good results and this is what we want to deliver in the near future. I think we are in the right place to do it and for me to develop as a rider. It’s a great, great opportunity.”
Red Bull KTM Tech3 will count on the knowledge and wisdom of nine seasons of MotoGP experience accumulated by 29-year-old Petrucci. He has gathered nine podium finishes so far in the class and has steered three different bikes since entering GPs in 2012.
Herve Poncharal, Red Bull KTM Tech3 team principal said: “Danilo is a man I respect a lot. He is a normal guy who always say hello to everyone, who has a lot of charisma and a great sense of humour. On top of that – and maybe even more important – he is also a team player and a MotoGP winner.
“There are four factory Red Bull KTM riders on the grid with the same support, the same equipment and this shows us the support that KTM is giving to the team. I would like to thank Stefan Pierer, Hubert Trunkenpolz and Pit Beirer – these are exciting news and it is an exciting program.”
This announcement all but confirms Pol Espargaro will ride alongside world champion Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda for the 2021 season, set to replace Alex Marquez despite the latter not yet having the opportunity to compete in the premier class in his rookie campaign.