Pol Espargaro on KTM “shortcomings in rider management - very bad, very bad…”

Pol Espargaro has criticised how KTM handled their rider line-up decision which resulted in his demotion from a full-time MotoGP seat.

KTM’s desire to reward Moto2 sensation Pedro Acosta with a promotion to the premier class created a problem - how would they fit five riders onto four bikes?

After a bid to run a fifth bike was rejected by Dorna, KTM selected veteran rider Espargaro as the man to miss out on a 2024 seat.

Acosta will inherit his Tech3 GASGAS ride.

Espargaro will instead take up as a role as test and reserve rider, and compete with wildcards.

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Espargaro said to DAZN: "What is justice in our sport? 

“Because there is a rider who beats the rest, but you don't know if it is because of his talent or because he has the best bike. 

“And if you don't have that bike, most of the time you are not able to win.

"At the moment I am in, and seeing that the factory wants to evolve with young talents like Pedro Acosta... 100% this situation could have been avoided. 

“It has been an absolute management error on the part of KTM. 

“And I feel bad because I don't like to criticise the factory I work for, the one that pays me, the one that takes care of me.

"But in this aspect, we have talked about it many times, they still have many shortcomings in terms of contracts or rider management. 

“And this has been one of them. 

“You cannot sign or have a rider with options to go up to MotoGP - it was also quite obvious that Pedro could have this path - and have other riders signed.

"Or have a rider with a 1+1 year contract and renew it. 

“You are going to find yourself with this situation.

“I am not saying that it is fair or unfair that Augusto Fernandez or I would have left, that Pedro would have stayed in Moto2, but in any case, the management has been very bad, very bad…”

'I was not able to bear the pain'


Espargaro’s first season with the Tech3 GASGAS team was ruined on the opening weekend in Portimao when he suffered a terrible crash.

Major lung, back and jaw injuries resulted in a lengthy lay-off of seven full rounds.

"Yes, this has been the worst injury I have had in my sports career,” he reflected. 

“Because perhaps all the ones I have had have been small injuries that with a month of recovery you were already ready to compete again.

"And then going home and not being able to [pick up] my daughters, such a simple thing, spending four weeks without being able to eat... “It's very traumatic. More than the pain, because I couldn't sleep for a month and a half, it's because of the trauma of the whole situation, of everything I have had to do and I have never had to go through so much pain.

"If you now give me 10% of the pain that I went through any night of the first month and a half... I called the MotoGP doctor to admit me again because I was not able to bear the pain.”

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