Solution offered to KTM despite a bid for a fifth bike being bluntly rejected

KTM’s problem of having five riders, but only four bikes, might have a solution at last.

Factory duo Jack Miller and Brad Binder, Tech3 GASGAS pair Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez, and Moto2 graduate Pedro Acosta are all contracted for a premier class seat in the 2024 MotoGP rider line-up.

However, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has again refused KTM’s wish to have a fifth bike next season - but he has offered them hope with a new idea.

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"Let's see if it's clear,” Ezpeleta was quoted by Marca about KTM expanding their presence on the grid.

“There has never been a fifth bike for KTM and there isn't one. Okay? 

“I don't know where you get that from because I've told everyone who has asked me: There are no more bikes because the existing system is working very well.

“Independent teams have rights and value that they would not have if you gave everyone who arrived a motorcycle.

Ezpeleta said about how KTM can solve the issue of having an extra rider: "That's not a problem. It's as if Barcelona had 12 players and said: 'Now what do we do?' 

“Well, one stays on the bench. Well, it's the same. 

“They have four positions and five riders. 

Pol Espargaro, MotoGP sprint race, Austrian MotoGP, 19 August
Pol Espargaro, MotoGP sprint race, Austrian MotoGP, 19 August

“I think that having, in a world championship as long as we have now, having five riders prepared to be able to get on any of those four bikes, is a good solution. 

“That, together with the fact that there are some wild cards, as it will help all the riders to be busy for most of the time.

“We are going to propose that there be more wild cards. 

“These are not concessions, they are wild cards for everyone.”

The quantity of injuries this season in MotoGP, and the addition of sprint races into the format, has been plenty of reserve riders competing in races.

This weekend at the Catalunya MotoGP for example, Iker Lecuona will fill in for Alex Rins again.

It will be Lecuona’s fifth MotoGP outing of the season.

So, KTM could use one of their five contracted riders in a ‘reserve’ role, ready to step in for either their factory or satellite teams in the case of an injury.

And the addition of extra wildcards means that the reserve rider could rack up the equivalent of half-a-season or more, depending on injuries.

Now, KTM must work out which of their five riders - Miller, Binder, Espargaro, Fernandez or Acosta - to use in that role.

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