MotoGP: Raul Fernandez signs with Tech3 KTM for 2022 season
KTM have confirmed that current Moto2 rookie sensation Raul Fernandez will be promoted to MotoGP next year with the Tech3 team.
Fernandez has been linked with a move to MotoGP for several weeks after making a sensational start to life in the intermediate class. From the opening nine races, Fernandez has three victories, three further podiums and four pole positions to his name.
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The Spaniard is currently second in the Moto2 class, 31 points behind Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Remy Gardner. The duo will also be teammates next season in the satellite KTM squad.
“Honestly, I’m really pleased with this opportunity from KTM, as much for this year as for the next," Fernandez said. "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.”
Prior to making his full-time world championship debut in 2019, Fernandez became CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior champion in 2018. He also finished third overall in the Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2016.
After a difficult maiden campaign in Moto3, Fernandez rode brilliantly to fourth overall in 2020. He ended his final year in the lightweight class with four podiums from the final five races, whilst he clinched 11 front row starts from 15 races.
“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," KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer said. "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.”
The news means that both Iker Lecouna and Danilo Petrucci are now without rides for the 2022 season. Lecuona has been linked with a move back to Moto2, whilst Petrucci is rumoured to be weighing up several options away from the GP paddock.
"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," Tech3 KTM team principal Hervé Poncharal added.
"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."
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