Why KTM chose ‘strong riders’ over ‘schooling project’ for MotoGP 2025

‘It was a clear decision to go for results and not for another schooling program, but also, honestly, I don't see that next guy ready [in Moto2]’.

Maverick Vinales, Pedro Acosta
Maverick Vinales, Pedro Acosta

Since Tech3 joined forces with KTM in 2019, the Austrian factory has placed six rookies at Herve Poncharal’s team: Miguel Oliveira (2019), Iker Lecuona (2020), Raul Fernandez (2021), Remy Gardner (2021), Augusto Fernandez (2022) and now Pedro Acosta (2023).

Tech3’s current Fernandez-Acosta line-up began the year with a combined age of just 45, combined MotoGP experience of only one season and no MotoGP podiums.

But those stats will change dramatically for 2025.

The new Maverick Vinales and Enea Bastianini line-up will offer a combined age of 57, combined MotoGP experience of 14 years and - at present - combined 15 MotoGP wins and 47 podiums (across Yamaha, Aprilia, Suzuki and Ducati machinery).

To put the scale of that shift into perspective, the future factory KTM team of Brad Binder and Acosta currently has a combined total of 2 MotoGP wins and 13 podiums (KTM machinery).

“Now it's clear we cannot offer a young talent a place [in MotoGP] for the next two years,” confirmed KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer, in the aftermath of the Vinales and Bastianini deals. 

Acosta is the third successive Moto2 champion to join MotoGP with KTM after Gardner and Augusto Fernandez, but the only one to finish on the podium and lead the RC16 challenge in the standings.

“If you ask me for my wish, of course, it would be always to have riders coming from our own ‘Academy’ up there and competitive," Beirer added.

“[But] you see how complex MotoGP is, how difficult it is. You definitely need an outstanding rookie, then it makes sense to go straight into MotoGP. 

"That's what Pedro has proven, that it's possible.

“But also we had struggles [in the past]. Even a Moto2 world champion can have a really hard time going into MotoGP.

Augusto Fernandez
Augusto Fernandez

“If you looked into the total investment of the MotoGP class, take a budget of. many, many millions and divide it by four. Every rider package is a multi-million package…

“And I feel you just don't get the time anymore in MotoGP to say ‘OK, let's make a kind of schooling project’.

“It’s super important to perform. And not just for publicity reasons. Also for the quality of the whole team. 

"You need four strong riders even to have [one] winning rider in the group [because] you need data immediately from Friday morning to make the next step for second practice.

“So we just felt more comfortable to take GP winners and push the whole project, push each other. 

"I think Pedro and Brad are also going to benefit from two more strong riders.

“So it was a clear decision to go for results and not for another schooling program, but also, honestly, I don't see that next guy ready.

“If the next guy would be the next Pedro, ready in our Moto2 project to make the jump, for sure we would take him immediately. But we don't see that they are ready for next year or the year after.

“So we had to go for rider quality.”

The new Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 line-up of Celestino Vietti and rookie Deniz Oncu are currently 10th and 23rd in the standings.

Fermin Aldeguer is the only Moto2 rider currently confirmed as joining MotoGP next season, with a TBA Ducati seat.

Read More