Pedrosa to return to MotoGP with KTM wildcard in Austria

The two-time 250cc and former 125cc world champion retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2018 season after spending 13 years in the premier class with Honda.

Upon retirement from racing, Pedrosa took on the role of official test driver for KTM and has remained with the Austrian marque ever since.

Until recently, the 31-time MotoGP race winner had little interest in challenging wildcards with KTM, although it was reported last month that he was considering a Grand Prix return – however, at the back then he was supposed to be in Misano.

KTM has now confirmed that it will join factory KTM riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, as well as KTM Tech3s of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona at the Red Bull Ring in August for the Styrian GP.

The Austrian brand has also confirmed that Pedrosa will pilot “a suitable development version” of the RC16.

“It was really interesting to be part of this project from the start with KTM in MotoGP and to be able to share my experience with them,” said Pedrosa.

“Step by step we did our best and now it’s interesting again to participate in a race because it gives you a different perspective compared to a normal test.

“It’s been a long time since my last race and of course the mentality for a GP is very different from a test.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport images

“My goal for the GP is to try and test the things we have on the bike in a race situation.

“I want to understand the demands that riders may have for different sessions and technical characteristics.

“Looking from home I can feel the improvements in motorcycles and racing, but in order to better understand MotoGP now, the new technologies and how to race and use strategies against others, we’re going to make this wild card.

“It’s hard to talk about my expectations after being away from the competition for so long.

“Anything can snap into a racing mentality or not, but we’ll try to make the weekend as good as possible.”

KTM has not said whether Pedrosa will stay on the bike for a second wildcard outing at the Austrian GP the following weekend at the Red Bull Ring.

Pedrosa may not be the only retired MotoGP star to return to Austria next month.

Petronas SRT has confirmed that Franco Morbidelli – who underwent knee surgery last month – will be unavailable until the San Marino GP in September, with Pedrosa’s ex-Honda teammate Cal Crutchlow expected to take control of the Yamaha “A-spec” in the absence of Morbidelli.


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