Pedro Acosta is the top Moto2 rider for the KTM team (competing on Kalex chassis) and is the absolute dream candidate for many MotoGP teams. But according to official statements from his team leaders, the young Spaniard should stay in the middle category for another year. The main reason for this is that due to unfavorable planning, the Oranges do not have a seat in the premier class for what is perhaps their greatest talent of all time for 2024. Of course, there is now a threat of its departure to the competition.

KTM and their constant rider problems

At KTM, Motorsport Director Pit Beirer and Big Boss Pierer have a lot in common. In particular, your public statements often seem to many as if you have eaten wisdom with spoons and your opponents are mostly fools. In fact, however, it’s not that simple when it comes to oranges and their successes and decisions. It is at least crystal clear that the goals officially stated by Pierer at the MotoGP start were missed by miles. It has to be said that for years they have failed to prove whether they will ever be able to fight for the title in the premier class, as they promised no later than 3 to 5 years after their entry into the 2017 season. This is despite the fact that Red Bull, one of the most powerful sponsors in sports history, is fully behind KTM. So it can hardly be because of the money. However, some serious flaws are difficult to overlook.

Pit Beirer photographed by us at the edge of the Czech Grand Prix, which is no longer on the calendar. The former German MotoCross top rider, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a terrible fall, often divides the minds of fans and experts with his statements. Many of his decisions seem at least clumsy, if not imprudent, and highly unfortunate in their effects.

The first mistake in 2019 was followed by numerous others

With Johann Zarco the Englishman Bradley Smith was replaced for the third season of the Oranges in MotoGP. But 2019 was a real disaster for the Frenchman and KTM. Apparently, the fast man at Cannes had not been listened to and his complaints about chassis problems were taken as an insult to majesty, which is why Zarco, disillusioned and disappointed, asked for his multi-year contract to be terminated halfway through the season. The public defamation of the Frenchman that followed by KTM was of the worst kind and must be described as highly unsportsmanlike. But Johann Zarco gave his answer on the track and then ran into the ears of the orange drivers countless times. Almost at the same time as the Frenchman left, KTM also gave up on Moto2 and gave up competing with its own chassis in the middle category. How unfortunate this decision was was shown especially at the end of the season when Brad Binder missed the world championship title by a ridiculous 3 points despite serious problems at the beginning of the season. And things were to get a lot worse for KTM in the years that followed.

Johann Zarco with the KTM on the ground, which was difficult to control – shortly after this crash in the race at the Sachsenring 2019 he should be redeemed. Instead of waiting for the end of the season after his contract was terminated, KTM released him after the Misano weekend before the 14th round. As the best KTM rider, Pol Espargaró only finished eleventh in the World Championship and, like all his colleagues in orange, did not finish on the podium in 2019.

The wrong decisions in rider questions accumulated

You don’t actually have to be a mathematical expert to imagine that KTM and its customer team Tech 3 only have four starting places in the premier class, but have 8 pilots under contract in the lower categories. It’s also no secret that a young driver who is successful in a smaller class wants to move up and prove his talent there as well. However, the latter sometimes takes time, especially in the premier class, as Jack Miller’s career impressively proves. Without the surprise victory in his second MotoGP year 2016 in the most difficult conditions and a rain failure with a subsequent restart, the Australian’s balance sheet in his first 4 years looks very modest. However, KTM does not give its drivers this time. That’s why an Iker Lecuona rides in MotoGP instead of Tech 3. The Catalan has been fighting for Honda in WorldSBK since 2022 and has a better record than his predecessor Alvaro Bautista, who was completely overrated by most and who only managed 2 third places on the CBR-1000RR-R in 2 years without the Ducati Panigale V4R.

Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM) chasing Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) – as the young man, number 27, began to establish himself in the 2021 premier class, he was sacked by KTM at the end of the season.

Wrong appointments, lack of patience and embarrassed at the home race

In addition to Lecuona, KTM also burned Grand Prix winner Danilo Petrucci and fired him after just one season. There was obviously a lack of patience and overview again and again. After rank 5 in the world championship in the first pandemic season 2020, figurehead Pol Espargaró was even lost to Repsol Honda, where he stumbled mercilessly, just like his Spanish predecessor Jorge Lorenzo. He returned for the 2023 season, but a terrible accident in Portugal keeps him away from the racetrack to this day. A blatant example of KTM mismanagement when it comes to pilot issues is definitely Jorge Martin. With the Spaniard, who matured in Moto2 with Aki Ajo’s team, they had a real gem in their own ranks from the 2019 season. After 2 wins in 2020 and three more podiums, the Oranges missed out on keeping the Madrilenian and lost him to Ducati. The Spaniard got off to a flying start with the Pramac team and secured his first place on the podium in the second race of the season in Losail (Qatar). After an injury break after a terrible crash at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal, his first victory and a third place followed in KTM’s home race at the Red Bull Ring of all places!

Danilo “Petrux” Petrucci on his beloved Ducati before the start – the popular figure now drives in WorldSBK and eats hard bread as a privateer on the Panigale V4R. His move to Tech 3 KTM for the 2021 season had not previously been discussed with the main sponsor Red Bull from the oranges and in the end, after many crashes and setbacks, it came off after just one year.

Today’s situation – no glory for KTM

As is not unusual at KTM, those responsible such as Beirer and Pierer liked to boast about themselves in public. They described their strategy of being the only MotoGP team to be represented in all three classes as a brilliant move. This would give them the opportunity to build their own offspring from Moto3 through the middle class to the top category MotoGP. So much for the theory, but where do you stand today with that? Although both of the current factory drivers have previously driven for KTM, Brad Binder was badly let down by the oranges at the beginning of his Grand Prix career. Without the financial help of his parents, the continuation of his career would have ended in 2013, after KTM dropped him earlier. They lost Jack Miller after his 2014 World Championship runner-up for KTM after receiving an offer straight into MotoGP from LCR Honda for the following season. After quite successful years on Ducati from 2018, the Australian only switched to KTM for 2023 because he was dropped by the Reds in the factory team.

While the KTM riders have not been on the podium since lap 4 in Jerez, two riders who were formerly under contract for the oranges, Jorge Martin (left) and Johann Zarco (right, both Pramac Ducati), drove into the Le Mans and Mugello podiums. Pit Beirer and his people are constantly being reminded of their numerous mistakes in human resources policy.

The problem with ongoing departures and only one Moto2 team

Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez, lost this season, are now convincing with excellent performances on RNF Aprilia. They were both carefully built up by the oranges in the smaller classes and taken to MotoGP. If KTM with only one Moto2 team were to keep Acosta against their will in the middle class, they would face another problem. With two Moto3 riders like Deniz Oncü and world championship leader Daniel Holgado, at least two of their four riders in the junior class for Moto2 are really pushing themselves. However, if KTM keeps Acosta there, they will have at most one seat next to him. This threatens the departure of their young talents from Moto3.

Raul Fernandez in Aragon in free practice for Moto2 in the 2021 season, in which he immediately became Vice World Champion in Moto2 for the Ajo-KTM Team. After a disappointing rookie season on MotoGP KTM the following year, he was dropped by the Oranges at the end of the year. For RNF Aprilia, he scored points twice in 2023 and impressed with fast lap times in Mugello on Friday.

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