Marco Bezzecchi has revealed he had “many, many opportunities” to stay in the Moto3 class in 2019, as well as several strong options in the intermediate category, before settling on signing for Hervé Poncharal’s all-new Red Bull KTM Tech Moto2 squad.

The 18-year old Italian has been the revelation of 2018, kicking on from an occasional point-scorer aboard a hopelessly outgunned Mahindra to the only name consistently carrying the fight to preseason favourite Jorge Martin.

That he has been doing it in the PruestelGP KTM squad, the former Peugeot MC Saxoprint outfit that was in serious danger of folding two years ago until German haulage magnate Ingo Pruestel stepped in with much-needed sponsorship, simply adds to the surprise.

As 2018 got underway, Pit Beirer, head of KTM’s motorsport activities was close to writing off the factory’s chances of overcoming a fleet of Honda chargers Martin, Aron Canet, Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio. But Bezzecchi’s two wins and five further podiums have endeared him to the Austrian factory.

Silverstone MotoGP

So much so that KTM were keen for him to switch to Aki Ajo’s Red Bull-backed Moto3 squad for 2019. When Bezzecchi decided Moto2 was the right way to go, the Mattighofen factory were only too keen to accommodate his demands.

“I had many, many opportunities to stay in Moto3,” Bezzecchi told in Austria. “But also there were chances to go to Moto2 with many, many good teams. KTM pushed. They wanted me to join the factory team in Moto3. But I wanted to stay in my team if I stayed in Moto3 so after this they made me the offer immediately for Moto2 … immediately.

“In that moment I was a little bit in trouble because, for sure, it was an incredibly opportunity. But I didn’t know what to choose. I spoke a lot with my family and also with the VR46 Academy.

“I thought it was the right year to change because the category will change. Everything will be different with the engine, the data… Also Hervé will change everything in the team. It will become a factory team – the Red Bull KTM. It was a very good opportunity.

“I thought a lot about this and in the end I chose to go to Moto2 because it’s a good possibility. It’s one possibility that I have to take immediately. But for sure this doesn’t change my ideas of the current championship.”

Bezzecchi is in the first season of a two-year deal with the squad, but his contract featured the option to step up to Moto2 should he feature in the current championship top three. The fact the intermediate category is undergoing a technical shake-up for 2019 fuelled his desire to step up at the close of this campaign.

“I think that it will be more balanced, between the experienced riders and the rookies," he said. "But it will be hard for sure, because every time is hard. I think it will be interesting and I hope to arrive there [being] as fast as I can.”

Rival Martin may have stolen the headlines in Austria for a rapid return from injury that verged on the superhuman. But Bezzecchi’s second win of the year - the first in dry conditions – put some breathing space between himself and the Spaniard. His lead now stands at twelve points.

“Yes, a fantastic race," he said of his Austrian bout. "I’m very, very happy. It was a difficult, long race but my strategy was always to stay in front, try to push and get away. Fortunately I made a small group. This was already good, there were less overtakes.

“The rhythm was very fast. When Jorge passed me I passed him again immediately, because I wanted to stay in front. In the last two laps I tried to push as much as possibly. I made a small gap which gave me a safer final two corners.”