KTM is working to bring Dani Pedrosa on board in a test role capacity from 2019 MotoGP onward alongside Mika Kallio.
Speculations spread about KTM and Pedrosa ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix – the home event for the Austrian manufacturer. It was then made official in a press briefing shared during the weekend where KTM admitted Pedrosa’s talks for 2019.
The Spaniard had announced his retirement from MotoGP after losing his Honda seat to Jorge Lorenzo. He had offers from Yamaha to join its new satellite outfit but he chose to retire from racing all-together.
After the announcement from Pedrosa, Honda’s team manager Albert Puig revealed the Japanese manufacturer’s intentions to keep Pedrosa abode as a test rider. But Honda will have competition from KTM who are equally interested in the services of the 32-year-old.
KTM signed Johann Zarco alongside Pol Espargaro for its factory outfit while its new satellite Tech 3 team will field Hafizh Syahrin and Moto2 graduate Miguel Oliveira in the 2019 season, with Kallio seemingly to continue as its test rider.
The team said it needs another experienced rider in the development of the RC16 and so the talks with Pedrosa. A release from KTM added: “Kallio’s role has been essential for the RC16 test kilometres and the Finn will be joined by another tester for 2019 with decorated Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa’s name in the frame.”
Meanwhile, with Kallio out of action due to injury suffered early in the season, KTM has been forced to bring in former grand prix rider Randy de Puniet in place of the Finn for the rest of the 2018 MotoGP season to continue with the development of the RC16.
The Frenchman rode for Honda, Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki and Suzuki and also KTM before the manufacturer’s return to MotoGP. The 37-year-old could in fact fill in for the injured Pol Espargaro in Silverstone, who missed Austria after breaking his collarbone in Brno.
However, de Puniet wants a test on the KTM before riding the bike in a grand prix weekend at Silverstone to take place between August 24-26. He doesn’t want to head into the weekend straight without any experience on the bike.