MotoGP: Francesco Guidotti joins Red Bull KTM as new team manager

Francesco Guidotti (pictured with Pit Beirer) has returned to KTM
Francesco Guidotti (pictured with Pit Beirer) has returned to KTM

KTM have confirmed that Francesco Guidotti will return to the company as Red Bull KTM’s team manager for the 2022 MotoGP season.

Mike Leitner stepped down from his position last week and will now move into a consultancy position with KTM. Leitner had been involved in the Austrian manufacturer’s MotoGP project from the very beginning, helping to construct the testing squad that began working on the RC16 in 2015.

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Guidotti moves to KTM from the Pramac Ducati team, where he has spent the last nine seasons. The satellite Ducati squad have edged closer to the front of the MotoGP grid in recent seasons, as their partnership with the Italian manufacturer grew.

Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco led the team to the Best Independent Team award this season, whilst Martin and Zarco were named Rookie of the Year and Best Independent Rider respectively. Martin clinched the team’s maiden victory at the Red Bull Ring this season.

“I was a team manager for KTM from 2006-2009 and then took some valuable experience in another series before coming back to MotoGP,” Guidotti said. “Now I am able to complete the circle! KTM have always been very ambitious and hungry with their racing programs, and we can see that MotoGP is no different; it is incredible what they have achieved in such a short time and there is still much we can do. I’m very happy to be back and part of this big push for more success.”

The 49-year-old oversaw KTM’s Grand Prix entry in the old 125 and 250cc classes for four years and then departed the world championship for a successful two-season stint with Aprilia in WorldSBK.

The change in management comes after a mixed season for KTM, who were hoping to build on a strong 2020 campaign. That year, Pol Espargaro finished fifth overall after securing five podiums and two poles, whilst Brad Binder (1) and Miguel Oliveira (2) secured the manufacturer’s first victories.

KTM were unable to make a clear step forward in 2021 as the championship became even more competitive and tight. Binder finished sixth overall with one victory, his only podium of the year, whilst Oliveira won one race and secured two further podiums on his way to 14th. Meanwhile Tech3 riders Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecouna struggled towards the back of the field.

“It’s a pleasure to have Francesco back with us and someone who knows our culture and way to go racing at KTM,” KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer added. “We wanted to refreshen the MotoGP management structure and we feel that his input and ideas will give us some new momentum for our sixth season on the grid.

“With people like Francesco, Fabiano Sterlacchini, Hervé Poncharal, Jens Hainbach and Aki Ajo we know we have the best leadership to help us move ahead and make more MotoGP milestones for the company.”