KTM has confirmed that long-time Pramac Ducati team manager Francesco Guidotti is to take over as head of the Austrian factory's MotoGP team.

Guidotti is replacing Mike Leitner, who helped set-up and then run the KTM team from its premier-class debut at the end of 2016. Leitner's surprise departure was announced last week, with the 59-year-old making the 'transition into a consultancy post'.

KTM is 'refreshing' its management structure in the aftermath of a disappointing 2021 campaign, in which it failed to build on a trio of breakthrough victories the previous season (which meant in lost access to technical concessions).

While Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder both won a race this year, Binder's victory was a brave slicks-in-the-rain gamble rather than by pure pace.

No KTM rider finished inside the top six during 9 of the 18 rounds, including the last six events in a row, although Binder's sixth in the world championship was just one place lower than the factory's best of fifth by Pol Espargaro the previous season.

Guidotti meanwhile has been at the helm of Pramac Ducati since 2012, the satellite team enjoying its best ever season in 2021 with Johann Zarco leading the early stages of the world championship on his way to fifth overall, while rookie team-mate Jorge Martin claimed the team's first Ducati win (and first ever for a satellite Ducati rider).

Pramac's eight podiums also helped claim the Independent teams' title, behind only the Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki factory teams. Prior to Pramac, Guidotti worked at Aprilia (in both MotoGP and WorldSBK) either side of four years with KTM's 125 and 250GP projects.

Guidotti will be re-joining Fabiano Sterlacchini, who spent 17 years at Ducati before arriving at KTM earlier this year.

“I was a team manager for KTM from 2006-2009 and then took some valuable experience in another series before coming back to MotoGP. Now I am able to complete the circle!" said Guidotti, 49.

"KTM have always been very ambitious and hungry with their racing programs and we can see that MotoGP is no different; it is incredible what they have achieved in such a short time and there is still much we can do.

"I’m very happy to be back and part of this big push for more success.”

“It’s a pleasure to have Francesco back with us and someone who knows our culture and way to go racing at KTM," added KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer.

"We wanted to refreshen the MotoGP management structure and we feel that his input and ideas will give us some new momentum for our sixth season on the grid.

"With people like Francesco, Fabiano Sterlacchini, Hervé Poncharal, Jens Hainbach and Aki Ajo we know we have the best leadership to help us move ahead and make more MotoGP milestones for the company.”

Guidotti's move means Pramac Ducati joins Suzuki in needing a team manager for the 2022 season.