SRT "won't interfere" with Fernandez/KTM relationship despite MotoGP interest

Petronas SRT says it is interested in signing star Moto2 rookie Raul Fernandez to replace Valentino Rossi in MotoGP but insists it “will not interfere in Raul’s relationship with KTM”.

SRT "won't interfere" with Fernandez/KTM relationship despite MotoGP interest

Fernandez stepped up to Moto2 in 2021 with the Ajo KTM squad and has already won twice, making him a sought-after in the MotoGP rider market.

The Spaniard has been linked to a promotion to Tech3 KTM alongside current Moto2 team-mate Remy Gardner, while Autosport reported recently that SRT has expressed interest in Fernandez as nine-time grand prix world champion Rossi looks set to retire at the end of 2021.

The main stumbling block to this season's revelation in Moto2 becoming Franco Morbidelli's new team-mate is KTM, who are refusing to let go of one of their most prized assets.

KTM’s protectionism has reached unimaginable heights, something that can be confirmed by Gardner, who initially turned down a Tech3 move but was ultimately caught between a rock and a hard place.

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

KTM's philosophy goes hand in hand with that of Red Bull, which has always been to offer practically invulnerable contracts to the young riders it supports and mentors.

The loss of Jorge Martin to Pramac and Pol Espargaro to Honda already confirmed that this philosophy has cracks.

In an interview with Autosport, KTM Motorsport boss Pit Beirer said Fernandez has expressed a desire to remain in Moto2 for one more season.

KTM has two possible avenues open to Fernandez ahead of 2022, the final year of his contract with KTM: either continue with his current team in Moto2 or move up to MotoGP with Tech3.

Naturally, KTM will do everything it can to keep him, even if the rider believes that his best alternative would be to ride the Petronas-branded M1.

Read Also:

In order to leave KTM, Fernandez must pay a penalty of around half a million euros.

That is a more than acceptable amount for the Yamaha and Petronas duo, though they do not intend to start a war with KTM.

“We will not interfere in Raul's relationship with KTM," said Johan Stigefelt, head of SRT, in an interview with Autosport.

"We will not interfere in Raul's relationship with KTM.

“Of course, we like him and we are interested in him, because he is very fast.

“But if he wants to come, he will have to sort out his situation first.”

With Morbidelli spearheading SRT’s MotoGP project for 2022, the budget for the second rider's salary is not even half of the 500,000 euros needed to extract him from his KTM contract.

The chess game between Fernandez and KTM has been going on for some time now and Petronas is waiting for the outcome.

In that sense, the Austrian company has the upper hand.

"They have two clauses in their favour, a preferential right of first refusal and a right of first refusal against any offer they might receive from outside," someone who has seen the contracts tells Autosport.

The options he has from KTM expire on 31 July, a date by which, usually in MotoGP, all the bikes have already been awarded.

Given that scenario, it makes sense to think that Fernandez is torn between taking a gamble and looking for the least traumatic way to escape KTM's clutches, or staying with Ajo in Moto2.

Accepting the offer to join Tech3 would likely mean signing an extension beyond 2022, at which point many more bikes will be vacant.

shares
comments

Related video

Quartararo says German MotoGP third "like gold" after weekend of struggle
Previous article

Quartararo says German MotoGP third "like gold" after weekend of struggle

Next article

Aprilia “not ready” for MotoGP podium despite Germany form

Aprilia “not ready” for MotoGP podium despite Germany form
Load comments
The Drive to Survive mistakes MotoGP must avoid in 2022 Plus

The Drive to Survive mistakes MotoGP must avoid in 2022

OPINION: MotoGP will get its own Drive to Survive-style series in 2022, airing on Amazon Prime Video. It’s a much-needed grab at the mainstream for MotoGP, but a paradigm shift in the series highlighted by one of its leading stars must be embraced and not overshadowed by a desire to replicate DTS’s popcorn drama

MotoGP
Jan 10, 2022
Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP Plus

Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP

Iker Lecuona’s absence from the 2022 MotoGP grid after losing his KTM ride will likely pass most onlookers by. But after just 30 race starts in a MotoGP move he was sucked into by circumstance, the World Superbike-bound 21-year-old's story should act as a warning to KTM - and MotoGP as a whole - in regards to its future stars

MotoGP
Jan 4, 2022
How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022 Plus

How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022

That Ducati will compete with eight prototypes in MotoGP this year is nothing new, having already done so between 2016 and 2018. But the involvement and coverage of the Borgo Panigale company in its alliances is now much greater than in past years, which could have the effect of unbalancing the premier class

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2022
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021

Eight different riders won races across an ultra-competitive 2021 MotoGP season. Although Fabio Quartararo wrapped up the title with two rounds to go, the Yamaha rider had strong competition from the revitalised Ducati factory team and the world championship's returning king. Autosport picks out the year's 10 best riders

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2021
How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king Plus

How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king

Doubts were cast over Yamaha’s French recruit after his disastrous end to the 2020 MotoGP season with Petronas SRT, but Fabio Quartararo answered them convincingly in 2021 to claim a MotoGP title that exhibited both his devastating speed and mental strength

MotoGP
Dec 7, 2021
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Plus

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Plus

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Autosport’s pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Plus

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021