KTM confirms Fernandez for 2022 MotoGP season
Saturday 7th August, 2021 - 9:58pm
KTM has announced that Raul Fernandez will join Remy Gardner at Tech3’s MotoGP team in 2022.
Fernandez is currently second to Gardner in the Moto2 championship, with both running out of the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad.
They will join factory team riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder in the Austrian marque’s MotoGP ranks, and collectively replace Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona at Tech3.
KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer had, only hours earlier, forecast a decision would be made tomorrow night, but the long-expected promotion of the Spaniard has now been confirmed.
It makes for a rapid rise for the 20-year-old Spaniard, who finished fourth in the Moto3 championship last year before starring in his rookie Moto2 campaign to date.
“Honestly, I’m really pleased with this opportunity from KTM, as much for this year as for the next,” said Fernandez.
“I’ve been learning a lot and enjoying Moto2 and was able to get into a position where I have this chance to enter MotoGP and for which I’m very grateful: it’s the dream of any rider to arrive to this class.
“Right now, the most important thing is to keep focusing on this season and giving all I have up until the last race to try and fight for the championship.
“If it doesn’t work out then fine, everything happens for a reason, and you have to look towards the positives.
“I’ve been a rookie this year and I want to close the chapter and then start again for 2022 where I’ll be looking to find a good feeling on the bike and, above all, aiming to enjoy myself.”
Fernandez is the latest rider to progress along KTM’s conveyor belt of talent, but had been a target of Yamaha.
Beirer remarked, “I’m happy to announce that Raul will move into the MotoGP class with us, 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.”
Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal spoke in similarly glowing terms about Gardner and Fernandez.
“We are delighted, proud and excited to welcome Raul Fernandez next to Remy Gardner,” said the Frenchman.
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting 2022 season with the two of the brightest talents of the Moto2 category moving to the premier class.
“Even though it will be their rookie season, I’m quite sure they will quickly learn and after a few races show their potential in the MotoGP as well.
“Raul has had an unbelievable first part of his rookie Moto2 season, something that has not been achieved in a long time.
“Although we are very pleased with this announcement, we know we still have half a season to go with our current riders, Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona, which I want to thank for their dedication and their never-ending constructive attitude, and, we clearly wish them well and best of luck for the future.”
The announcement was made during MotoGP Free Practice 4 at the Red Bull Ring, where the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria is being held.