Dani Pedrosa will make his KTM RC16 debut in Austria.
Dani Pedrosa has been officially confirmed to make his KTM debut at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on August 6-8. The MotoGP Legend and three-time World Champion has been confirmed to line up on the grid for the first time after being hired by the Austrian factory as their test rider.
As we know, his knowledge and input have been worth their weight in gold these past few years with his expertise and input allowing KTM to notch up four MotoGP class race wins at the time of writing, three to Miguel Oliveira and one to Brad Binder as a rookie.
Pedrosa’s debut will be the first time in his entire career that he will compete in the Grand Prix championship on a bike that is not a Honda after completing 18 seasons for the Japanese factory before defecting over to KTM at the end of 2018 to be their test rider.
Dani Pedrosa: “It’s been super-interesting to be part of this project from the beginning with KTM in MotoGP and being able to share my experience with them. Step-by-step we did the best we could and now it’s interesting again to go into a race because it gives you a different perspective compared to a normal test. It has been a long time since my last race and, of course, the mentality for a GP is very different to a test. My focus for the GP is to try to test the things we have on the bike in a race situation. I wish to understand the requests riders might have for different sessions and technical features. Watching from home I can sense the improvements in the bikes and the racing but in order to understand more about MotoGP now, the new technologies and how to race and use strategies against the others we’ll make this wildcard. It’s difficult to talk about my expectations after being so long away from competition. It might all click into a racing mentality or it might not but we’ll try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “It will be curious to see Dani in MotoGP again. He has been away from racing for quite a long time but it will be valuable to have him in garage at Red Bull Ring to analyze the strong and not-so-strong parts of our KTM RC16 package in GP conditions and it will give him a good indication for his testing work. Dani has had a big influence in our MotoGP project thanks to all of his experience. The company was working and pushing hard to follow his requests, along with Mika’s [Kallio]. Dani was a good reference as he retired at the end of 2018 while still at the top of the sport and we can see some of his influence in the current success of the KTM RC16. He will have a mixture of the current race bike and some small upgrades and he will have some testing to do during the weekend but we also don’t want to overload him. We want him to enjoy the Grand Prix! There are a lot of young, strong riders in MotoGP at the moment, so he will be busy but this is a good way for him to learn more and feel the current benchmark in the sport and this will help us for future testing.”