KTM rules out Pedrosa return as Espargaro MotoGP replacement

KTM's racing director Mike Leitner has ruled out the Austrian marque filling the Honda-bound Pol Espargaro's MotoGP seat in 2021 with Dani Pedrosa

KTM rules out Pedrosa return as Espargaro MotoGP replacement

Last month Autosport revealed that 2013 Moto2 champion Espargaro would be leaving KTM at the end of the year to join Marc Marquez at the factory Honda team, after a deal was agreed (but is yet to be signed).

This bombshell came in the wake of Autosport confirming that KTM Moto2 frontrunner Jorge Martin is set to sign a deal with Ducati to join Pramac next year.

With more major signings for 2021 already completed, KTM is facing a shortage of candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant RC16.

Pedrosa, who retired from racing at the end of 2018 before joining KTM as test rider, has been an integral part to the development of the current bike and is a name which has cropped up since the Espargaro news.

However, speaking to Germany's Speedweek, Leitner ruled this out, admitting that KTM is looking for "active riders".

"We are looking at the scenarios which we can play," Leitner said.

"We are currently having conversations with some riders."

When asked if Pedrosa was under consideration, he responded: "You have to ask Dani: he is retired, we have to accept that.

"That is why we are looking for active riders."

Andrea Dovizioso had been linked with a KTM switch already during the current 'silly season', but - despite talks having stalled over money - the three-time MotoGP championship runner-up is set to remain with Ducati next year.

His current team-mate Danilo Petrucci confirmed recently that he would be leaving Ducati at the end of this year, and expressed interest in both Aprilia and KTM.

Though Aprilia is standing by Andrea Iannone as he appeals to have his 18-month doping ban overturned, it is thought Petrucci is edging closer to joining Aleix Espargaro on the RS-GP in 2021.

As far as top-level talent, only three-time MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow remains as an outside option, as Alex Marquez looks likely to be moved to LCR with full HRC support next year.

With the second LCR seat explicitly set up for a Japanese rider - with backing from Dorna Sports' Asia Talent Cup title sponsor Idemitsu - Takaaki Nakagami's place looks more secure.

Commenting on Espargaro's looming exit, Leitner said: "We must recognise that we have done a very good job in the last three years, because our bike is not only more competitive now, but our project has made Pol grow as a rider.

"We have to accept that we are now in a situation where the Honda factory team wants to take Pol. "I would certainly prefer it to be different, but it is what it is.

"For Pol, Honda is a great new opportunity."

shares
comments
Tank Slappers Podcast: What will unusual 2020 MotoGP season look like?

Previous article

Tank Slappers Podcast: What will unusual 2020 MotoGP season look like?

Next article

Miller "ready to guide" Ducati to first MotoGP title in over a decade

Miller "ready to guide" Ducati to first MotoGP title in over a decade
Load comments
Why Quartararo’s Catalunya suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP Plus

Why Quartararo’s Catalunya suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo racing with his leather suit open and subsequent penalty has been the main talking point of the Catalunya MotoGP weekend, which has highlighted a wider issue with MotoGP’s stewarding that risks a negative precedent going forward

MotoGP
Jun 8, 2021
How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya Plus

How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya

The expectation on KTM to replicate its winning form from 2020 this season made its difficult start to the new MotoGP campaign even more disappointing. But a key update has seen KTM's fortunes reversed over the last week and returned it to the top step of the podium in Barcelona

MotoGP
Jun 7, 2021
The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement Plus

The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement

It's not been a happy start to 2021 for Valentino Rossi at the Petronas SRT satellite squad, with performances that are a shadow of the rider that utterly dominated MotoGP at the start of the new millennium. At the age of 42, how much longer can he go on?

MotoGP
May 19, 2021
Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's Plus

Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's

Hot on the heels of his first MotoGP win in five years, Jack Miller made it two from two with a commanding French Grand Prix victory at Le Mans despite two long-lap penalties. Impressive though it was, it was an expectation-defying performance from an anticipated title rival that was the real standout

MotoGP
May 17, 2021
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Plus

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Plus

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Plus

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Plus

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021