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Pol Espargaró to KTM for 2017; Marquez Stays at Honda

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The new KTM Factory MotoGP effort will begin next year with the current Tech3 Yamaha riders on its roster.  Following an earlier announcement by Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaró revealed earlier today that he has signed a two-year deal with the Austrian factory.  Perhaps, Espargaró has heard good things about the KTM program from paddock-mate Smith.

Also announced earlier today at his home race, Marc Marquez has extended his relationship with the Repsol Honda Team for an additional two years through the 2018 season. In many respects, Marquez had no options given the fact he would want to stay on a competitive factory team and becoming the teammate of arch rival Valentino Rossi at Yamaha would never happen.

Here is a press release from Yamaha regarding the departure of Pol Espargaró:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announce that Yamaha and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team-rider Pol Espargaró will go their separate ways at the close of the 2016 MotoGP season, when the Spaniard will start new racing challenges.

Espargaró joined the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team in 2014, following his championship victory in the Moto2 class the year before. The currently 24-year old adapted to the YZR-M1 quickly, as was displayed when he qualified second for the fifth race in Le Mans and claimed the accolade of ‘rookie of the year’ as well as ‘top satellite MotoGP rider’ with a sixth place overall finish.

Espargarò followed up this successful year by taking ninth place in the final rankings in the 2015 season, with the highlight of finishing as the highest satellite team rider in Assen and Valencia with two fifth places.

In addition to the MotoGP program, Espargarò also secured the win for Yamaha at the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race where he teamed up with Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Espargarò will team up once again this year with Katsuyuki Nakasuga and new rider Alex Lowes in an attempt to secure back-to-back wins for the Yamaha Factory Team.

So far this season Espargaró holds seventh place with 48 points in the 2016 MotoGP World Championship standings and has been the leading independent team rider since the start of the 2016 campaign, finishing three times as the best independent rider in Losail, Jerez, and Le Mans.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. look back with great appreciation on Espargaró’s contributions to its racing successes over the past two and a half years and wish Espargaró the very best in furthering his racing career.

Yamaha and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team will continue to put their full efforts into finishing the 2016 season with Espargaró in the best possible manner and hope to share many more memorable moments during the upcoming twelve MotoGP rounds of the 2016 World Championship.

The 2017 Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team replacement for Pol Espargaró will be announced in due course.


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18 Comments

  1. Mitch Ohlin says:

    Common ECU for all bikes next year. This might even up playing field a bit. The best riders will always win but the back markers might get lapped later in the race.

  2. Andrea in Colorado says:

    It’s time for BMW, Triumph, and Kawasaki to hop onto the MotoGP bandwagon.

  3. WJF says:

    Wonder what the livery will be….

  4. Auphliam says:

    I’m not clear on the rules. I thought MotoGP bikes had to be based on production models. KTM doesn’t make a superbike anymore, do they? Could somebody clarify?

  5. Wendy says:

    KTM will bring orange to the MotoGP roster, but the sheer $$$$ of the Big Two will make them an also ran.

  6. Gutterslob says:

    So KTM’s basically Tech 4 Racing now.

    • notarollingroadblock says:

      I was going to say The Tech 3 Two Racing. I wonder if Herve’ is hard to work for…

      • notarollingroadblock says:

        The “Iberian Ham Equivalent” web site 🙂 (aka “Soup”) agrees with your Tech 4.

  7. pacer says:

    I think in five years time KTM will have aliens on their roster. When they take on a project they are very Austrian about it. What I mean by that is a strong foundation with fit and finish to match. They also are not afraid to try something new (link less suspension on the dirtbikes), they will take a fresh path with their frame.

    • Dave says:

      I doubt Kenny Roberts shares your optimism about KTM’s commitment to a project.

      • pacer says:

        You made me google! Well, I would love to argue with you, but have none. The only difference is that they control everything now so there should be less difference of opinions. I still think and hope they do well.

  8. Jeremy in TX says:

    That is a good move for him I think so long as KTM has the grit to stay in the game long enough. He performed really well on the Tech3 satellite team.

  9. That makes for a nicely experienced team for KTM. Wish them the best!