The final pieces of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship puzzle are slowly falling into place, but a potentially big announcement now seems to be on the horizon.
As things stand, Ducati and Honda are now the only manufacturers to have confirmed their factory pairings for next season, although the former is already known to choose between Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini.
Honda, meanwhile, is all but certain to confirm 2020 MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir alongside Marc Marquez, with Alex Rins and Ai Ogura heavily rumored to fill the company’s satellite seats at LCR.
This means Pol Espargaro will be kicked out of the Honda team after just two years with the Repsol team, during which he achieved a modest two podiums and a pole position.
However, with most spots on the 2023 MotoGP grid now taken, Espargaro looks set to receive a lifeline from the KTM team he raced with between 2017 and 2020. tough seasons to lead his challenge in a groundbreaking 2020 campaign.
Indeed, although Espargaro didn’t claim any victories – unlike his stablemates Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder – five podiums earned him fifth place in the standings.
This means KTM is keen to bring Espargaro back into its fold, albeit as part of the Tech 3 Racing satellite effort after the factory seats were taken over by Binder and new Jack Miller.
“Pol had a very strong influence on the MotoGP project from 2017 to 2020. With his help we got to where we are,” Pit Beirer told Speedweek.
“Pol still has a score to settle with KTM. Because when the bike became capable of winning, he left us for another manufacturer, where he pursued his childhood dream. In the meantime, we realized that everything is not easier there than at home.
Espargaro is set to be partnered with 2021 Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner, with current teammate Raul Fernandez tipped to join RNF Aprilia.
GASGAS to replace Suzuki as sixth MotoGP constructor?
Beyond Espargaro’s return, next year could well see Carmelo Ezpeleta achieve his wish to retain six manufacturers on the MotoGP grid following Suzuki’s exit… albeit on a technical note.
Indeed, KTM is heavily rumored to reconfigure Tech 3 Racing by running it with the branding of its sister brand GASGAS.
The Spanish company – which has an illustrious history in motocross and clinched its maiden Dakar Rally title this year – came under the Pierer KTM umbrella in 2019 and has since been promoted via Grand Prix racing with Moto3 entries. and Moto2.
It’s a strategy KTM looks set to apply to MotoGP by renaming the team Tech 3, although it’s unclear if it will be allowed to follow the tactics it uses in Moto3 and Moto2 in labeling the KTM RC16 as a GASGAS chassis, or if it will still be listed as a KTM bike.
If so, that means GASGAS could be considered a separate manufacturer entry, although the fact that it marks a satellite effort – rather than being GASGAS’ own build – might preclude it from doing so. .