Miguel Oliveira has been announced as the first rider for the new Tech3-KTM MotoGP project in 2019.

The French team is leaving Yamaha to run factory-spec RC16 machines next season and Oliveira - as KTM's top Moto2 rider - had been expected to secure one of the seats in what has been called a virtual KTM junior team.

Olivera, currently fourth in this year's Moto2 standings, has agreed a one-year deal.

"It is very early in the season but I am really happy that KTM have seen enough from this year and the last to trust me and believe I deserve this opportunity in MotoGP," Oliveira said. "I’m really thankful for that.

"I’ve always dreamed of MotoGP. I had it as a goal and to be able to achieve that is something so positive. We still have a long Moto2 season ahead and the fact that this is already done allows me to relax and really focus on my riding.

"I have been through all the steps that Red Bull and KTM have together since the Rookies Cup; I believe I’m the first. I think that shows other riders can trust in KTM and their project. I think I have the skills and the will to be able to perform well on a MotoGP bike.”


KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer added: “This is an emotional step for us because it proves all what we have said about building a structure in this paddock and being able to come from the Red Bull Rookies Cup, go through the classes with us and end up in a MotoGP team.

"Together with Aki Ajo we created the Moto2 project to be the platform that develops riders for MotoGP and I have to thank Aki for this partnership because he is doing a great job with the riders; if they come out of his ‘school’ then they are ready for MotoGP and I’m happy we can give a chance to Miguel.

"At the same time I’m also pleased that he can trust us as the right partner to try and be a successful MotoGP rider. We already have a great line-up of talent and there is still one spot open.

"It feels great to know we can have Herve (Poncharal), Aki and Mike Leitner around the table to make our strategy in this paddock. Miguel has his goals for race wins, podiums and the title in Moto2 this year and he has our full support for that and then his MotoGP career will start in Valencia.”

Olivera finished titled runner-up in Moto3 for KTM in 2015 before returning to the factory to spearhead its new Moto2 project, winning the final three races of last season.

With Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro forming the factory Red Bull KTM MotoGP line-up in 2019, the remaining Tech3 seat is now the only RC16 ride still available.

Hafizh Syahrin currently leads the Rookie of the Year standings for Tech3 Yamaha and is in with a chance of staying, but the Malaysian may also move to the still-to-be-decided new home for the satellite Yamahas.

Bradley Smith, displaced by Zarco, has not ruled out a return to Tech3. However past history suggests the team doesn't usually re-sign riders that chose to leave.

Oliveira's current team-mate Brad Binder had also been linked to a possible KTM MotoGP ride next year, but the South African now looks set to stay and lead the factory's Moto2 challenge in 2019.



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