Espargaro’s long-expected deal was officially confirmed on Friday at KTM’s home Austrian MotoGP, where Tech3 was announced as being rebranded as the new GASGAS Factory team.

“I want to thank Herve 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," said KTM/GASGAS Motorsports Director Pit Beirer.

Branding differences aside, Espargaro re-joins the Austrian manufacturer he raced for from its 2017 premier-class debut until the end of 2020.

That was at the factory Red Bull team, where he claimed six podiums and what remains KTM’s best of fifth in the world championship before being tempted away to Repsol Honda.

Tech3 is also well known to the Spaniard who got his MotoGP break with the French team, then running Yamaha machinery, as the reigning Moto2 champion in 2014.

'Still a chance to keep Miguel'

With Brad Binder and new signing Jack Miller already confirmed at Red Bull KTM next season, only the identity of Espargaro’s Tech3 team-mate remains to be decided as far as KTM's 2023 MotoGP line-up.

Miguel Oliveira, having lost his factory seat to Miller, has long been linked with a switch to RNF Aprilia next year but Pit Beirer revealed:

"We cannot confirm the second rider yet, there is still also still a chance to keep our friend Miguel inside the family..."

Asked if that meant Oliveira had received a new offer, Beirer replied:

“We’re just repeating our offer. We keep him in the loop. We know it’s maybe not the most easy chance, and maybe in the beginning he didn’t understand what the future [could] bring.

“But today it’s a bit more easy to talk about the future, if you see the bike, the project and that we can name it a factory team and he could be also a leader for the young riders.

“But yes, he will have a new proposal today.”

If Oliveira can be convinced to move back to Tech3, something he has previously rejected, it would mean that both of the team's current rookie riders, Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, would need to move on.

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Although Tech3 will continue to use factory-spec RC16s next season, the team - dressed in KTM orange for the past two years - will now be backed by the sister GASGAS brand, which effectively becomes title sponsor.

GASGAS currently has a similar arrangement with the Aspar team in Moto3 and Moto2.

While the Moto3 ‘GASGAS’ bikes (like the other rebadged KTMs for Husqvarna and CFMOTO) are also listed as a constructor, the Moto2 machines continue to be officially classed as Kalex entries.

Which option will be followed for GASGAS in MotoGP remains unclear but, given the concession perks that exist for new manufacturers, the GASGAS bikes are sure to be treated as KTMs in terms of the technical rules.

Espargaro previously spent three years on Yamahas at Tech3 (best finish of fourth) before seeking full factory machinery by switching to KTM - a move Tech3 replicated, for similar reasons, in 2019.

Joining Repsol Honda with the clear aim of fighting for the world championship, Espargaro has made just two rostrum appearances during a punishing tenure on the struggling RCV.

Meanwhile, Tech3, which took its first MotoGP wins with Miguel Oliveira during 2020, hasn’t finished higher than fifth place since.

'Exciting new format' coming for MotoGP

Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal also revealed that the GASGAS deal might not be the only major announcement for MotoGP this weekend.

"To be a full Factory GASGAS team is a big pride, I feel very honoured," Poncharal said.

"I think MotoGP is moving up, shaking up in a very exciting new format that could be announced very soon by Carmelo and Carlos [Ezpeleta].

"So I think all together this is going to be a very exciting weekend for MotoGP."

The introduction of Sprint races is the rumoured format change, with a special press conference arranged for Saturday at the Red Bull Ring.