MotoGP: Pol Espargaro signs two-year deal with re-branded Tech3 GASGAS team

1 of 3

Pol Espargaro has signed a two-year deal with the rebranded Tech3 GASGAS team for the 2023 and 2024 MotoGP seasons.

Tech3 KTM will be rebranded as the GASGAS Factory Racing Team next year, with Espargaro leading the line-up after two difficult seasons with Repsol Honda.

Espargaro made his premier class debut with Tech3, onboard a Yamaha M1, in 2014, before joining Red Bull KTM in its debut MotoGP campaign in 2017. Like brother Aleix at Aprilia, Pol led the development of the RC16 on the track, and took the manufacturers maiden podium in the wet at Valencia in 2018.

Five more podiums followed in 2020 as KTM cemented themselves as frontrunners in MotoGP, with Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira both winning races. Espargaro was rewarded with a dream move to HRC, but things haven’t worked out as planned.

Pol Espargaro will lead the GASGAS Factory Racing Team

Espargaro has just two podiums to his name as things stand as a Honda rider, with the RC213V continuing to cause problems for all of its riders. Marc Marquez is injured once again, whilst Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami are both outside of the top 15 in the championship. Marquez is still the top Honda rider despite missing the majority of the season.

Tech3 will continue to race factory-spec KTM RC16s next season, but the bike, likely to be red, will be covered in GASGAS logos – much like the Aspar team has in Moto2 and Moto3.

As GASGAS is simply a brand of KTM, the bikes, according to the MotoGP technical regulations, must be the same as the RC16s used by the factory KTM team. There will be no separate development, and therefore Tech3 will not receive any concessions.

According to Race Director Mike Webb, KTM has decided that any points earnt by Tech3 GASGAS riders will go to KTM in the manufacturer championship.  

The Tech3 GASGAS machine on track

KTM purchased GASGAS in 2019. The Spanish company was originally launched in 1985 by Narcis Casas and Josep Pibernat, and specialises in off-road motorcycles for Trials, Enduro, Motocross and Supercross.

“GASGAS is a winning brand. It has reached an incredible level of performance immediately in disciplines like MXGP, Supercross, Enduro and Rally where we have taken Grands Prix, Main Events, world titles and overall winners’ trophies,” GASGAS/KTM Motorsports Director, Pit Beirer said.

“It’s a relatively new brand for us and we have new goals. We hope the fans that follow ‘the red’ will enjoy the story. Thanks to our strong partner, the ASPAR team, in Moto3 and Moto2 we have been able to see the GASGAS bikes right at the front of those categories. It would be great to see the same thing eventually in the hardest class of them all.

“I want to thank Hervé and the Tech3 factory racing team for keeping an open mind and really supporting this change to become the GASGAS Factory Racing Team. We think it’s exciting and different.”

GASGAS is one of three other KTM brands to race within the MotoGP paddock. Other brands which can be found in the smaller categories include Husqvarna, most noticeably with Max Biaggi’s Sterilgarda team, and CFMOTO.

It’s not currently known who will partner Espargaro at Tech3, however current rider Remy Gardner is expected to keep his place. Espargaro’s departure leaves the door open for Joan Mir’s potential move to Repsol Honda to be made official.