KTM has officially confirmed that Raul Fernandez will be moving up to MotoGP in 2022, racing for the Tech3 KTM team. The Spaniard has been rewarded for a sensational rookie campaign in Moto2 with a promotion to MotoGP.
That Fernandez would move up to MotoGP was an open secret. The only question was the timing of the announcement. But KTM had to fight to keep the Spaniard, after Yamaha had attempted to poach him for the Petronas team.
With Fernandez joining current Moto2 Ajo teammate Remy Gardner in Tech3, the current line up of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona are set to lose their places in MotoGP. Lecuona has been linked to a move back to Moto2, while Petrucci is widely tipped to move to the WorldSBK series, where he could make a return to Ducati.
Fernandez' signing, confirmation this morning that Franco Morbidelli will be moving up to the factory Yamaha team, and Maverick Viñales widely tipped to go to Aprilia means there are three seats still left open in MotoGP for 2022. There are two seats vacant at Petronas Yamaha, though one of them could be occupied by Marco Bezzecchi, and one seat at the new VR46 team alongside Luca Marini.
The official press release appears below:
Raul Fernandez completes 2022 MotoGP™ Tech3 KTM Factory Racing roster
2021 MotoGP news
The current Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2™ star makes the final step of the KTM GP Academy trajectory to join present teammate Remy Gardner on the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing RC16 next season.
Two wins and four podiums in two seasons of Moto3™ and three victories with a total of six trophies to-date in Moto2: 20-year-old Raul Fernandez will continue his climb to the peak of MotoGP with aTech3 KTM Factory Racing saddle next year.
The Spaniard, along with Australian Remy Gardner, has been the dominant force as part of Aki Ajo’s Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto2 after graduating from the KTM RC4 in Moto3 during 2020. He sits 2nd behind Gardner in the championship at the mid-point of the campaign and on the eve of race day at the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria. Fernandez’ adaptation to the demands of Moto2 and his continuing fast development as a professional GP rider has helped KTM race management take the decision to elevate #25 to the premier class.
KTM’s MotoGP wing for 2022 is set as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will field Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing will work with the rookie Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner.
Raul Fernandez: “Honestly, I’m really pleased with this opportunity from KTM, as much for this year as for the next. I’ve been learning a lot and enjoying Moto2 and was able to get into a position where I have this chance to enter MotoGP and for which I’m very grateful: it’s the dream of any rider to arrive to this class. Right now, the most important thing is to keep focusing on this season and giving all I have up until the last race to try and fight for the championship. If it doesn’t work out then fine, everything happens for a reason, and you have to look towards the positives. I’ve been a rookie this year and I want to close the chapter and then start again for 2022 where I’ll be looking to find a good feeling on the bike and, above all, aiming to enjoy myself.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “I’m happy to announce that Raul will move into the MotoGP class with us, and this further proves that our KTM GP Academy project is working from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup all the way to MotoGP. We all know that Raul is an outstanding talent. His jump from Moto3 to Moto2 had some question marks but he showed repeatedly that he is an excellent rider on the bigger bike, which was our original thought and hope because he was quite tall for Moto3. Going to MotoGP so quickly wasn’t part of the initial plan but he has demonstrated that he has the potential. The Moto2 line-up at the moment with Remy is like a dream team, so to move both of them to the premier class makes it very strong and means we now have riders for MotoGP that have come through our system. We had – and still have - a similar ‘dream team’ with Brad and Miguel and now we can repeat the same story with another Moto2 line-up. If you know the guys, their background and how they work and how they feel in the KTM surroundings then it makes the whole effort stronger.”
Hervé Poncharal, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Team Principal: “We are delighted, proud and excited to welcome Raul Fernandez next to Remy Gardner. I think it’s going to be a very exciting 2022 season with the two of the brightest talents of the Moto2 category moving to the premier class. Even though it will be their rookie season, I’m quite sure they will quickly learn and after a few races show their potential in the MotoGP as well. Raul has had an unbelievable first part of his rookie Moto2 season, something that has not been achieved in a long time. Although we are very pleased with this announcement we know we still have half a season to go with our current riders, Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona, which I want to thank for their dedication and their never-ending constructive attitude, and, we clearly wish them well and best of luck for the future.”