The new was revealed by Red Bull KTM team manager Francesco Guidotti during a video call with media following Thursday morning’s team launch:
“I received a few minutes ago the confirmation that Dani will have a wild-card in Jerez. So it means how important he is to us.
“The contribution he can give us is quite high. So we’re trying to put him in a position to express his potential during the tests and of course also during the wild-card.”
Pedrosa took 31 MotoGP wins for Honda between 2006 and 2018, making him by far the most successful premier-class rider never to win the title.
After his retirement, the Spaniard switched to test riding duties for KTM.
Pedrosa’s only previous wild-card was at the 2021 Styrian GP, where he qualified 14th and finished an impressive tenth, having escaped injury in a fiery accident that prompted a restart.
‘You cannot force Dani to do a wild-card!’
“You all know Dani Pedrosa, he’s a strong boy with a strong mentality, so you cannot force him to do a wild-card,” smiled KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer. “We developed the motorcycle together with him and we always said whenever he wants to do a wild card, we are happy.
“Of course, we are more than happy because you have limited tire quantities for testing, then the track is a little bit different because you have different rubber on the track.
“The perfect test is a race. So if you can combine Dani and our test team on the track together with the other boys and work on future development parts, it’s super good and super important.
“I’m excited that he’s ready to do a wild card and, reading between the lines, he would not go to do a wild card if he thinks the bike is not competitive!”
Jonas Folger also on track at Sepang
Guidotti also revealed that Pedrosa is prepared to step in should any of the KTM race riders be injured, while former MotoGP podium finisher Jonas Folger (29) will take part in some KTM testing duties at Sepang next month.
“We talked last year already with Dani and he gave us his availability [if a KTM race rider was injured],” Guidotti said. “Then of course, we would always have to consider at that moment how big is the problem, long Dani would need to replace someone.
“We are also trying to get Jonas Folger ready. He will also be in Sepang for the Shakedown. We know that we can count on Dani and, just in case, so Jonas can ride.”
Mika and Dani ‘fantastic’
Meanwhile, Beirer underlined that KTM continues to be happy with the work of Mika Kallio, 40, who has been a test rider from the start of the RC16 project but hasn’t raced since Portimao 2020.
“If there’s one point I can make clear, I read somewhere that we are not happy with our test riders anymore and they are getting too old,” Beirer said. “I have to say they are such a fantastic part of our project, Mika and Dani. They did really good work and the test team is so important with the limited testing time for our race guys.
“So we are not unhappy with our test riders, they are fantastic and have been a super important part of this project. I want to name [credit] Mika together with Dani and the whole crew.”