Pol Espargarò's move to Honda alongside Marc Marquez for 2021 has litreally left KTM without their top man. The only rider able to bring the RC16 to the top of the ranking, also conquering the only MotoGP podium of the Austrian team, will probably face the most important challenge of his career and, in fact, will leave the men of Mattighofen without their best reference.
This scenario was addressed by the manager of the Austrian project, Mike Leitner, with colleagues from Speedweek, in an interview that traced the situation in a rather detailed manner, suggesting what KTM's moves could be for the future. At present, the Austrians can count on Oliveira, Lecuona, and Binder, namely, two rookies and a rider in his second season in the top class. For now, it's impossible to predict how these three riders will develop during 2020, but it's difficult to speculate that one of these will succeed and match Pol Espargarò's performance in the near future.
Leitner was clear on one topic, that is, even if he's probably leaving, the Spanish rider will continue to carry out the development work he's been doing so far.
"Yes, Pol will perform the tests regularly," Leitner said. "Is it already certain that he's leaving? From our point-of-view, it's still not 100% certain. We have a season ahead where we want to make a difference, and our riders have ambitious goals."
Leitner in no way saying that Pol Espargarò will definitely be leaving, even if he confirmed that the possibility could be very real.
"We know that Pol could leave KTM, of course. This is why we need to understand the scenario in which we have to move for the future. Of course, I hope the situation is slightly different from what everyone imagines but, if not, we're already talking to different riders."
Looking at the various possibilities, certainly one of the most fascinating involves Pedrosa's possible return, which Leitner isn't considering for the moment.
"Do you want to know if Dani can start racing again? We would have to ask him, I don't know what he's thinking. KTM doesn't want to convince a rider to return to the MotoGP. In my opinion, Dani doesn't want this role. We've already dealt with this thing. This is one of the reasons why we're only talking to riders who are active for our 2021 teams."
Mike Leitner didn't even want to comment on the possibility of Danilo Petrucci, one of the riders who's free for 2021 and probably more suited for the KTM project.
"Both Pol and Danilo are very fast in the rain. If you want me to compare Petrucci and Pol, then my answer is simple. I appreciate any rider who manages to stay in the top fifteen in MotoGP. There are many riders who would have a lot to offer at that level. If Pol becomes interesting for Honda, that will be because he's grown a lot in these three years with KTM. He's grown as a rider and our bike has also developed, so it's normal that other manufacturers could now be interested in him. Honda would represent a great new opportunity for him. Now all we have to do is to wait and see what happens."