As rumoured since August, Dani Pedrosa has officially joined Red Bull KTM as its MotoGP test rider on a two-year deal having recently announced his retirement from Grand Prix racing.

Pedrosa has opted to leave Honda and retire from racing at the end of this year, a decision he announced at July’s German round, but will switch to KTM as a test rider on a two-year contract.

Pedrosa and Honda: Over after 18 years

KTM confirmed the deal following Friday practice at the Australian MotoGP round and will work alongside current test rider Mika Kallio. The Austrian brand is expanding its racing efforts in 2019 having secured Tech 3 as a satellite team with Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin as riders, while hiring two-time Moto2 champion Johann Zarco to its factory team alongside Pol Espargaro.

“To have a rider of Dani’s skill and experience as part of our MotoGP project is another strong sign that we are moving in the right direction and we are still pushing as hard as we can,” KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer said. “We have seen how competitive MotoGP is this year and how fractions of a second can sometimes hide real progress and valuable lessons. We hope – and we are very excited – that Dani’s input alongside Mika Kallio and feeding into the two teams we’ll have on the grid next year will really help to close the gap even further.

“I think we can feel very optimistic about our possibilities for the upcoming seasons. I’d like to thank the whole crew at the factory, all the strong effort at the races and for all those testing miles as we come close to the end of our second year. Also to Dani: it is great that he believes and trusts in us and what we are doing.”

Pedrosa effectively cuts ties to Honda with his move to KTM after an 18-year career spent competing exclusively on Honda machinery.

After winning the 125cc world title in 2003 Pedrosa claimed consecutive 250cc world championships in 2004 and 2005 before making his MotoGP debut with the Repsol Honda squad in 2006.