Remember the game of musical chairs that we used to play as children? The music stopped, all the participants had to sit down but there weren't enough chairs for everyone and one was eliminated. This is what is happening in KTM (although it would be better to talk about Pierer Mobility Group, as the riders always do very carefully). Right now they have 5 riders under contract for 2024, but only 4 bikes available.
The situation is this: Jack Miller, Brad Binder and Pol Espargarò signed a two-year agreement last year, then in Austria they decided to make the option for Augusto Fernandez and also that for Pedro Acosta to take him to MotoGP count. So here we have arrived at the five riders who will have to share the 2 KTMs and the same number of GasGas for next season.
Obviously something didn't go according to plan, because from the Austrian headquarters they thought they could increase the number of bikes on the grid for next year. In fact, they proposed to Dorna to promote the Ajo team - the Orangemen’s branch in Moto2 and Moto3 - in MotoGP. Nothing can be said about the solidity and professionalism of Aki's team, but Carmelo Ezpeleta gave the idea a thumbs down.
Not to spite KTM (which from here applies to Pierer Mobility Group), but because the championship organizer didn't want to create a precedent that could create a problem in the future, or even make the other satellite teams angry.
In Austria they tried to force their hand and found themselves with nothing to show for it. Even the efforts to sound out the willingness of the LCR and Gresini teams to change livery have not been successful, at least for next season.
So back to the main problem: how to fit 5 riders on 4 bikes? Binder and Miller seem untouchable, so Fernandez and Espargarò could have some headaches. Augusto, only yesterday, declared that he has no certainties about his future, but also that he is working on a plan B in case the clouds over his head become denser.
The position of Pol is very different, he’s one of the riders (together with Smith) who had taken the Austrian brand to its debut in MotoGP in 2017. Back in the family, his season was conditioned by a serious crash at Portimao and he only got back on the bike at Silverstone. Logical that if the Spaniard decides to stop after all he has suffered, he would solve a problem, but no one can afford to kick him out.
So the game is still on: 4 bikes for 5 riders. Who will be left standing?