As expected, we didn’t have long to wait to find where Pol Espargaro would be working next season, as KTM has announced that it has signed a two-year contract with the Spanish rider, for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP seasons.
Espargaro’s departure from the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was announced earlier this morning, along with the news that his direct contract with Yamaha Racing would not be renewed.
The change from Yamaha to KTM won’t be a dramatic shift though, as Pol Espargaro will be joined by his current teammate, Bradley Smith, at the Austrian brand’s factory team as well.
KTM hopes to capitalize on both riders’ feedback on developing the KTM RC16 race bike, as well as their promising pace for strong results.
“We’re more than happy that we’re now able to sign Pol Espargaro as a young rider of form and with MotoGP experience for this dynamic project. Both Pol and Bradley are well suited to KTM,” said Pit Beirer, Motorsport Director at KTM.
“Also in Mika Kallio we have an extremely motivated and competent test rider within the structure. We can grow together and continue to develop in all aspects. Now we hope for good conditions for the further tests and extend wishes to everyone for a successful rest of the season 2016.”
With this news, KTM now considers its rider lineup complete, with Espargaro and Smith as its racers, and Mika Kallio as the team’s permanent test rider.
We can expect Kallio to race as a wild card at the Valencia GP at the end of the season, with Espargaro and Smith debuting on the KTM at the following week’s test.