Could Jack Miller be Replaced by Pedro Acosta This Season? Not According to KTM

Pedro Acosta’s immediate impact as a MotoGP rookie has raised the question of whether he could move up to the factory KTM before the end of 2024

Pedro Acosta, 2024 MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas grid. - Gold and Goose

The arrival of Pedro Acosta to the MotoGP class has been the biggest disruption to Grand Prix’s premier class since Marc Marquez stepped up from Moto2 11 years ago. 

Acosta has finished on the podium in the last two Grands Prix, and his performance at the Grand Prix of the Americas was particularly impressive as he led at the start and battled with all the riders who might expect to win the title this year: Marc Marquez, Francesco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin, and Enea Bastianini, only to be beaten by an unusually unstoppable Maverick Vinales. Now the top KTM rider in the championship, Acosta is five points ahead of Brad Binder and lies fourth overall, 24 points behind leader Jorge Martin.

Acosta is also 32 points clear of Jack Miller, who currently lies 10th in the riders’ points and has a best result of fifth, which came at the Portuguese Grand Prix, this season.

The difference between the results of Acosta and those of Miller has prompted questions, after only three rounds and six races, of whether Acosta could be moved into the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team to replace Miller, who would go to the Tech3 GasGas team in a swap move. 

The door is open, because both Tech3 GasGas riders, Acosta and Augusto Fernandez, are contracted to KTM, not the team, and therefore, theoretically, KTM can place them wherever it wants. “All four of our riders in MotoGP have factory contracts,” KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer told German publication Motorsport-Magazin. “So, you're not tied to any particular team.”

However, Beirer said that such a swap move during the 2024 season is “not an option for us,” and added that “it is completely absurd to think about such changes during the season.”

So, case closed. For now, at least. Beirer conceded that Acosta’s performances this year have been “an absolute highlight”, and said that KTM is “not happy” with the performances of the two riders in its factory team, Miller and Brad Binder.

While a move during 2024 is unlikely, though, a switch for 2025 seems almost inevitable. The emergence of Acosta as a generational talent and as a rider who, at the very least, has the potential to win MotoGP titles in the future means that KTM will be forced at the end of this year to commit itself to the Spaniard, in order to avoid the risk of Acosta finding himself on another manufacturer. That means putting him in the factory team, and with Binder already tied up with KTM until the end of 2026 the only place available is that of Miller, whose contract is up at the end of the year.

The MotoGP World Championship moves back to Europe for its next race, round four, as the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto hosts the Spanish Grand Prix.

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