Tetsuta Nagashima will replace MotoGP-bound Brad Binder at the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team in 2020.

The Japanese rider heads to the KTM-supported Ajo squad to become part of the KTM GP Academy along with securing a race seat at the team for 2020 next to Jorge Martin with Binder moving up to the factory KTM squad in MotoGP.

Nagashima, who claimed his maiden Moto2 pole position earlier this year in Austria, has previously enjoyed a two-round wildcard outing with Ajo Motorsport back in 2016 before the Finnish team’s collaboration with KTM.

With KTM withdrawing as chassis manufacturer from Moto2 at the end of this year, the Ajo squad looks set to return to racing Kalex chassis which the Japanese rider has been using for the past four years.

“I’m so excited about this move. I was able to improve a lot this year, especially after the summer break and I was around the top five a lot for qualifying, but then I had some small problems in the races and couldn’t make it to the podium,” Nagashima said.

“I am now going to one of the best teams and structures in the paddock. I’ve known Aki and how he works since 2016, when I was in his academy team; I learned a lot there.

“In Moto2 the skills and the riders are so similar and the gap is so close: 0.1 or 0.2 of a second can be the difference between five-six positions. It can be very difficult to find the way to improve individually but with the right team it is possible to make this small step. I’m really motivated about 2020 already.”

The move also sees Nagashima become a KTM GP Academy rider which duly opens up an opportunity to demonstrate his credentials for a prospective MotoGP move in the future having seen both Binder and Miguel Oliveira progress through the same path with KTM.

“Tetsuta has caught our attention lately in Moto2 and with Brad Binder moving up to MotoGP and becoming another rider through our Grand Prix system - now called the KTM GP Academy - he was a good pick for Aki's crew,” Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director, said.

“He brings Moto2 experience and already knows Aki and his way to work, so that is promising. We have outlined our map and commitment to the FIM World Championship for 2020 and the coming years and Aki is a fundamental part of that.

“The KTM GP Academy is a scheme where we will do our best to funnel more talents to the top and follow the examples provided by Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder of coming right up the MotoGP ladder.”

 

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