Red Bull KTM unveiled its 2023 MotoGP bike/livery in a revised line-up as Dani Pedrosa confirmed for wildcard outing.
The sound of 2023 MotoGP will fire in a matter of days and just before the Sepang MotoGP Official Test breaks the silence of the off-season, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have unveiled their colours and riders set to contest the longest campaign on record. For the fourth year in a row Brad Binder will be one of the KTM RC16 riders in the company’s MotoGP tilt for success.
The 27-year-old South African scored KTM’s maiden MotoGP victory in the Czech Republic in 2020 and was KTM’s highest-ranked rider in 2022 with 6th position in the standings and podium results at both the opening Grand Prix of the year (Qatar) and the closer (Valencia). Now nine seasons in the Red Bull KTM family, Binder is recognized as one of the most determined and efficient racers on the MotoGP grid.
Number 33 is joined by Jack Miller. The recently turned 28-year-old will steer the KTM RC16 as he bids to become the only rider in the current MotoGP field to notch GP wins with three different brands. The Australian brings nine seasons of experience and immense character to the team as well as a pedigree that includes four triumphs and 22 podiums in the premier class.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is at the top of the KTM road racing pyramid and a structure that sees participation and presence in each world championship division and more. At the peak of the sport KTM have celebrated seven MotoGP wins while logging 18 podium appearances and three Pole Positions since 2017. KTM RC4 equipment has registered five titles and 80 victories in the Moto3 category since the inception of the division in 2012 and the technical base of the bike has been responsible for emerging talent progression in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the Northern Talent Cup and the Austrian Junior Cup.
The 2023 MotoGP campaign begins on March 24-25-26 at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal after two pre-season tests from February 10-11-12 (Malaysia) and March 11-12 (Portugal).
Brad Binder: “It has felt like a long off-season already so I’m more than excited to get back to the track and to get started again. My fourth year in the class, and I feel like our best chance so far to really achieve something will be in 2023. We’re ready to go, so let’s get to Sepang and see what those first days bring us.”
Jack Miller: “Good feelings! Joining up with the KTM family again it is all starting to feel rather ‘real’ now. I’ve been thinking about this moment for quite a long time. Finally getting to see the 2023 colours, myself in the suit and all the preparation for the season ahead. It’s amazing to be back here at KTM and to be catching up with everybody; it’s a special little taste before we get down to action in Malaysia.”v
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “For sure finishing 2nd in the Teams Championship last year is something to take, and to have a starting point for the future. It’s important because it means the team works well together and the atmosphere is great. There will be 21 GPs this year and it will be important to be competitive and in the top five every single time and then we also have the Sprint races. We are a factory team and the only goal we can have, the only target, is the title.
“It is easy to say and not easy to get! But this is the main goal. Everything has to be efficient, especially now when we have less time to make the right setting in different conditions. It is a basic thing that you need to do; make a team that is closely connected and efficient to face those daily challenges. Our riders – Jack and Brad – are a special combo and the team will be very strong because there are two special personalities.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “We are going into our seventh season but I feel the six previous years were amazing in terms of building the project to this level and already having these wins and podiums in the pocket. It has been a crazy journey and we enjoyed it a lot but now it is not enough to just ‘be there’ anymore and be a good, organized team; we need results. I feel super-confident with the two boys we have onboard. I feel that Brad and Jack are both different but, at the end of the day, both similar.
“They are pushing very hard and that is exactly what we need. As always, we go into a long – and very different – racing season with so much work and effort from the people and partners behind us: from all the engineers at the factory, the excellent test team and new and trusted sponsors. We have made a big push for 2023 to be better than ever.”
Hubert Trunkenpolz, Member of the Executive Board, KTM AG: “The impact of MotoGP on the business is massive. We do factory racing in general and MotoGP in particular for brand awareness and the return on the investment is a really good one. It makes a lot of difference if you finish on the podium so for sure this has to be the target in 2023. On the business side we had another record year and we closed 2022 with almost 2.5 billion of revenue with over 375,000 motorcycles sold which is an all-time high. Like our motorsport performance, the second half of last year’s finish for the business was just incredible.
“I think our outlook for MotoGP in 2023 is very positive and what we have for the future is very promising so big credit for this must go to the team, the riders and the big push the whole factory is making right now. Aside from this we want to continue with our goals for sustainability for both the sport and for the business and continue to be a top player in this series.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager, Francesco Guidotti, has confirmed that Test Rider Dani Pedrosa will make a wildcard appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix in April. The three-time World Champion and MotoGP Legend is continuing in his role as the Austrian factory’s Test Rider again in 2023, with Pedrosa’s only previous wildcard outing on the RC16 coming at the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix.
“I received confirmation a few minutes ago that Dani will have a wildcard in Jerez, so it means how important he is for us and the contribution he can give to us is high,” said Guidotti in his post-team presentation debrief with the media. KTM Motorsports Director, Pit Beirer, also commented on Pedrosa’s planned wildcard at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. “Pedrosa is a strong boy with a strong mentality, so you cannot force him to do a wildcard. So we developed the motorcycle together and we always said that if he wants to do a wildcard, we are happy.
“Of course we are more than happy because you have limited tyre quantities for testing, the track is different, you have different rubber on the track, so the perfect test is of course a race, so if you can combine the race, Dani and our test team, together with the other boys and you work on future development parts, it’s super good and super important, so I’m excited that he’s ready to do a wildcard. Reading between the lines, he would not do a wildcard if he thought the bike wasn’t competitive so I hope he gives us the right signal for that.”
Guidotti, who enters his second season as Team Manager at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing this year, also confirmed that former MotoGP podium finisher Jonas Folger will be taking part in the Sepang Shakedown test for KTM. “We’re also trying to get Jonas Folger ready, he will also be in Sepang for the shakedown and we know that somehow we can count on Dani, and in case he wants, Jonas can ride.”
Here’s photo gallery: https://www.motogp.com/en/gallery/2023/01/26/gallery-red-bull-ktm-factory-racing-s-2023-challenger/446700
[Note: The story is as per press release]
2023 MotoGP launches: