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MotoGP, Red Bull KTM Tech 3: Not a country for old men (but Pol Espargaro is happy)

Why were Pol Espargaró and Oliveira ruled out? "Pol is the happiest man on earth, since he stopped being a regular MotoGP rider," Trunkenpolz said.

MotoGP: Red Bull KTM Tech 3: Not a country for old men (but Pol Espargaro is happy)

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira won the MotoGP races in Spielberg and Portimão on the Red Bull Tech3 KTM in 2020. He then went on to reach 3 more MotoGP triumphs with the RC16 in the Red Bull KTM Factory Team alongside Binder in Barcelona in 2021, and in Lombok and Buriram in 2022.

However, after a prolonged period of weakness (at least in dry races), following his injury in the 2022 Red Bull Ring GP, KTM only offered Miguel a return to Tech3 for 2024, while Jack Miller was transferred to the Red Bull KTM Factory Team for 2023 and 2024.

Oliveira rejected this demotion, first negotiating with Gresini Ducati, and then signing with Aprilia Racing for 2023 for the new RNF satellite team, which was taken over by Trackhouse team owner Justin Marks for 2024.

After several injuries, Oliveira only reached a disappointing 16th place in the World Championship, with a meagre 76 points for Aprilia  in2023. This season, he's stuck in 15th place in the World Championship after 7 of 20 Grand Prixs. The devastating result so far is 31 points, on a factory Aprilia built in 2024!

Was 29-year-old Oliveira still one of the candidates for second place, alongside Bastianini in Tech3 for the upcoming season? After all, he's already shone with the Red Bull KTM Ajo as runner-up behind Danny Kent in the Moto3 in 2015 and in the Moto2 during the 2018 season.

"No," KTM board member Trunkenpolz decalred in an interview with GPOne after the Mugello GP. The Portuguese rider made himself unpopular in Austria during the summer of 2022 when he turned down a high-paying, three-year factory contract from Stefan Pierer.

Pol Espargaró, who developed the KTM RC16 as a flagship bike through his exemplary performance between 2017  and 2020, wasn't involved in the considerations for 2025 in the newly formed Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team. The 33-year-old Spanish rider will continue being a test rider, with individual wildcard appearances after struggling to recover for almost five months in 2023 following his catastrophic Portimão fall.

"Pol is the happiest man on earth, since he stopped being a regular MotoGP rider," Trunkenpolz said.

"He's totally happy, and in a super good mood. He's doing brilliantly. Pol is already looking forward to the wildcard entry at the Austrian GP in August, but it's out of the question that he'll become a full-time racer again. It's also out of the question from our side, because we've spared him a lot of physical suffering with our decision."

"Pol has remained a brilliant team member," KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer emphasized. "He's a test rider, he's on site in the pits, he gives advice to our riders, and also to the technical crew. It's also fun to see when he comes into the pits dressed smartly and in a good mood as a TV presenter to help the riders. It's a dream for us to have such a relationship with Pol."

Trunkenpolz: "Pol will always be part of the KTM family, in whatever capacity. He's such a positive person and radiates so much positive energy. But we're no longer asking him to race all year round. And he doesn't ask us to either."

Pol Espargaró was assisted by crew chief Paul Trevathan in Red Bull KTM from 2017 to 2021 and also in GASGAS during 2023.

As a reminder, the New Zealander, who's based in the Netherlands and now assists an exceptional rider, Pedro Acosta, was Pit Beirer's crew chief in 1999, when the German rdier was runner-up in the 250cc Motocross World Championship.


Translated by Leila Myftija

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