The satellite bike situation for the coming five-year contract period in MotoGP is starting to crystallize.
Today, KTM and Tech3 announced that the French team wil be staying inside the stable of the Austrian factory for the entire five years of the MotoGP period, from 2022 to 2026.
That Tech3 would stay with KTM was hardly a surprise: the French team won their first ever premier class race last season with Miguel Oliveira, and the team is an important part of KTM’s talent structure, which brings riders through all the way from the Red Bull Rookies to MotoGP.
But the fact that it is a five-year deal is unusual, satellite team contracts in MotoGP are usually only for two to three years.
With Tech3 signed up for 2022, that means that KTM will be on the grid with four bikes for 2022.
Of the remaining satellite squads, Pramac is certain to remain with Ducati, playing a similar role to Tech3 at KTM, and the LCR squad will almost certainly continue with Honda. Petronas is also almost certain to stick with Yamaha for 2022 and beyond as well.
That leaves the Gresini and VR46 teams. Aprilia is keen to supply a satellite squad, for which Gresini is the most likely candidate, having so much experience with the Italian factory.
VR46, meanwhile, is likely to take over the Ducatis from the departing Esponsorama squad.
But there is a possibility that Gresini could take Ducatis as well, with Ducati supplying a total of eight bikes in MotoGP. “It’s something we have done before,” Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti told Italian media.
Decisions are likely to be made in the next four to six weeks, with VR46 hoping to make a decision as early as the next race at Le Mans.