Moto2 sensation Raul Fernandez has been confirmed as joining his current Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Remy Gardner in making the step up to MotoGP for 2022 with the Tech3 KTM team.
Fernandez, who has so far rocked the switch to Moto2 with three victories and second in the championship behind his team-mate, has been the target of multiple teams for next year, with Yamaha in particular trying hard to buy him out of his KTM contract to join their satellite squad Petronas.
The 20-year-old has resisted the move, however, with his preferred option believed to have been to stay in Moto2 and attempt a title challenge next year in the middleweight series. However, with serious pressure from his bosses at KTM to step up, it seems that he has succumbed to the pressure to step up.
“I’m happy to announce that Raul will move into the MotoGP class with us,” said KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer, “and this further proves that our KTM GP Academy project is working from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup all the way to MotoGP. We all know that Raul is an outstanding talent.
“His jump from Moto3 to Moto2 had some question marks but he showed repeatedly that he is an excellent rider on the bigger bike, which was our original thought and hope because he was quite tall for Moto3. Going to MotoGP so quickly wasn’t part of the initial plan but he has demonstrated that he has the potential.
“The Moto2 line-up at the moment with Remy is like a dream team, so to move both of them to the premier class makes it very strong and means we now have riders for MotoGP that have come through our system. We had – and still have – a similar ‘dream team’ with Brad and Miguel and now we can repeat the same story with another Moto2 line-up.
If you know the guys, their background and how they work and how they feel in the KTM surroundings then it makes the whole effort stronger.”
With both KTM seats now being taken by rookies for next year, it means that both Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci will be left looking for rides elsewhere. Lecuona is believed to be in talks with other teams in the paddock, potentially including the Yamaha seat turned down by Fernandez at its satellite Petronas team.
But Petrucci looks set to leave the championship after 10 seasons, with no other options still open to the veteran Italian. He has already hinted at looking elsewhere for his career options, potentially even exploring a chance to race the Dakar Rally with KTM.