Red Bull KTM Factory has confirmed that Brad Binder will join their factory team alongside Pol Espargaro for his first season of the MotoGP World Championship in 2020, while Iker Lecuona will fill his place at Tech 3 KTM.
After Johann Zarco’s shock exit just nine months after his two-year tenure with the Austrian manufacturer, there was uncertainty about the identity of the KTM riders, although a number of names have been named in recent weeks.
In the past few days, however, sources close to KTM identified Spanish Moto2 rider Lecuona as the new favorite for the available ride. This has now been confirmed, albeit through a rearrangement of the KTM seats, in which he will instead join Miguel Oliveira in the Satellite Tech 3 Racing setup.
For example, the South African Binder, who should make his MotoGP debut with Tech 3, will be promoted directly to the Red Bull Factory team before he even shot the RC16, where he will compete alongside Espargaro in MotoGP 2020.
In support of the decision, KTM Motorsport Director says that KTM is betting on a new generation of riders and giving the highly rated Binder the chance to flourish after being impressed by his efforts in Moto2.
“After our announcement in the middle of the season it was clear that our plans had to change for 2020. After some deliberation and discussion, we decided to go in this direction and get away from the young, hungry guys with good experiences in the other categories of MotoGP to show what “they can do.”
“Brad is a rider who has found his way through the KTM structure and we have no doubt that he will join the Red Bull KTM team and continue to show the same style and attitude that we have seen in a long time to have.” .
“Iker is joining the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team and we are very confident that Hervé and his boys will be able to develop another rookie like they did so well with Miguel this year. We know that we are making good and exciting steps with our MotoGP project and with the next season now fixed we can really start building this new chapter. “
Brad Binder is ready to take a great opportunity at KTM
When Lecuona showed up as a likely candidate for a KTM seat, it has not escaped the notice that Binder – as a KTM protégé – may have been distressed when a Moto2 rival walked in and took a factory ride while staying at Tech 3. even if they run essentially the same specification machinery.
It seems like it didn’t escape KTM either, and promoting Binder to the factory team makes a lot of sense in a head-to-head race between the two.
Binder has long been touted for MotoGP and his performance in Moto2, even after the deal with Tech 3 was announced months ago, largely justifies why his promotion to the ‘A-Team’ is warranted.
He is the only rider who tamed the unloved KTM Moto2 bike in 2019 and achieved a total of two wins and five podiums – only two other riders, including Lecuona, have a podium on the motorcycle this year – while Binder still has a mathematical chance of the title.
One rider who may be more dissatisfied with this situation is Oliveira, who showed lightning speed on the tricky machine and was at least equal to Zarco before leaving the ship, even though his recent races were hampered by injuries.
Essentially, the machinery is the same between all four drivers, but giving Binder a direct factory chance is a clear endorsement of his junior program. As Fabio Quartararo shows, thinking outside of the norm can bear fruit …