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Pedrosa gets Jerez MotoGP wildcard for KTM, Espargaro in at Mugello

KTM has announced that Dani Pedrosa will make a return to racing at the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix as a wildcard, while Pol Espargaro will contest the Italian GP.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Pedrosa, who retired from full-time competition at the end of the 2018 season, contested two wildcards in 2023 as part of his test rider role with KTM.

The first was at the Spanish GP at Jerez, where the 31-time MotoGP race winner finished an impressive sixth in the sprint and seventh in the grand prix.

He returned for the San Marino GP at Misano and went on to finish fourth in both races, narrowly missing a first podium since 2017.

Last month KTM confirmed that it had everything in place for Pedrosa to make a wildcard at Jerez and were waiting for the rider to give his approval.

“I had a lot of fun at Jerez last year and the welcome from the fans was amazing,” said Pedrosa.

“We all know Jerez is a special place. For us it will also be important to use some references for our tests and put it into the race environment again. This is the main reason to compete in 2024.”

KTM has also confirmed the date for Espargaro’s MotoGP return, after he stepped into a test rider role having lost his Tech3 ride to Augusto Fernandez.

Espargaro will contest the Italian GP at the beginning of June, marking his first MotoGP race appearance since last year’s Valencia GP.

Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing

Photo by: Rob Gray / Polarity Photo

Espargaro says he feels more like his “old self” following his serious accident in Portugal last season that ruled him out for half of the year and is looking forward to getting a race outing on the new KTM.

“Really happy to be racing again and especially at Mugello, which is a very special place to get on a MotoGP bike,” Espargaro noted.

“It will be cool to be back on the grid with the guys. Testing has been going really well and I’m very motivated.

“I am more like my ‘old self’ after the injury of 2023. I’m looking forward to being right back into the MotoGP ‘family’ and showing that our testing work is strong and fast.”

As KTM operates as a C ranked manufacturer under MotoGP’s concession rules for 2024, it is allowed a maximum of six wildcards for the season.

As such, Espargaro and Pedrosa could make up to four more race appearances this year depending on how KTM wants to divide up its remaining wildcards.

Yamaha, Honda and Aprilia are also able to field at least six wildcards across the 2024 season due to their rankings within the new concessions system.

Ducati is not allowed to field any.

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