KTM has put faith in its own young riders for the future of its MotoGP project by picking Miguel Oliveira (25) to join Brad Binder (24) at the Official team in 2021.

The pair currently have a combined total of just 16 races in the premier-class - all by Tech3's Oliveira, before he was injured during his rookie season - but have been chosen over experienced MotoGP race winner Danilo Petrucci.

Petrucci was tipped as a direct replacement for Binder's present team-mate and KTM factory leader Pol Espargaro, set to join Repsol Honda next season. Instead, Oliveira will move alongside the retained Binder, with Petrucci replacing the Portuguese at Tech3.

Oliveira had been left feeling 'not worthy' when overlooked in favour of Binder to replace Johann Zarco this season, but now has no doubts about being a trusted and valued part of the project.

“I’m really happy about this opportunity that KTM have given me for the next two years. I feel that they trust me to show my value as a rider in this project," Oliveira said.

"Since day one I have given my best to the bike and believed in its potential to achieve good results and this is what we want to deliver in the near future. I think we are in the right place to do it, and for me to develop as a rider. It’s a great, great opportunity.

"We still have to focus on 2020 but I feel grateful for this great challenge. Thanks to the KTM family.”

Binder, who could have been moved to make way for a Petrucci, is equally grateful to keep his factory place without even completing a racing lap as a MotoGP rider.

"I’m incredibly excited to be able to have another season on the Red Bull Factory Racing RC16 and I’m really looking forward to getting this year underway and my first MotoGP race under my belt," said the South African.

"It’s an honour to have this opportunity and I’m looking at a bright future with KTM and some great times to come.”

Oliveira and Binder have previously been KTM team-mates in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes (main picture) where they won 12 and 15 grands prix respectively, plus a title victory for Binder in the 2016 Moto3 World Championship.

"We have two very talented riders in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2021 and we’ve seen in both Moto2 and Moto3 what they are able to do. It’s great to be able to bring both of them through the ranks into MotoGP," said Red Bull KTM team manager Mike Leitner.

"Miguel has already made positive first steps in the category and performed so well at Red Bull Ring [eighth place] last year. He was unlucky with the crash at Silverstone because he suffered with his shoulder for the rest of the season. We expect him to have a good championship this year and be even more ready to change set-ups for 2021.

"For Brad we know his skills and potential as a rider. Of course, he is the rookie but we’ll bring him up to speed in 2020 and help him to learn the category to be stronger for 2021.

"Right now, we’re looking forward to racing in 2020 and have to thank everyone that managed to make a race calendar happen this summer. We are very confident with our current rider line-up: as we said, Brad will learn, and Pol has a great chance to get some decent results. We cannot wait.”

Oliveira's current Tech3 team-mate and another KTM class rookie Iker Lecuona will remain at the French team alongside Petrucci next year.

All four KTM riders will have the same factory-spec machinery.

 

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