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Did Raul Fernandez just suggest he ISN'T happy with KTM MotoGP promotion?

Raul Fernandez says he won't be racing where he wants to be in 2022 following confirmation he is being promoted to MotoGP with Tech 3 KTM

Raul Fernandez - Red Bull Ajo KTM


Raul Fernandez has courted controversy by seemingly suggesting his promotion to MotoGP for 2022 with Tech 3 KTM is actually against his wishes, saying he is ‘not racing where he wants’ to be next season.

The young Spaniard - currently in the midst of his rookie Moto2 campaign with the KTM-backed Red Bull Ajo Motorsport team - was on Saturday confirmed to be stepping up to the premier class next season as part of an all-rookie line-up together with Remy Gardner.

It comes amid talk he was being courted by Yamaha to join the Petronas SRT squad, though it is unclear whether the Iwata manufacturer was willing to foot a reported €500,000 to release him from his existing contract with KTM.

Indeed, Fernandez was originally expected to get another season in Moto2 next year before making the jump in 2023, but Yamaha’s interest prompted KTM to fast-track this to next season as a rebuff.

However, some choice words by Fernandez to Spanish broadcaster DAZN sheds light on a potentially charged situation in which he hasn’t got the deal he wanted.

Asked by the reporter ‘at Assen you said 99% of you would stay in Moto2, what made you change your mind?’, Fernandez responded by saying: “In 2022 I will not run where I wanted to run”.

Raul Fernandez drops MotoGP bombshell at KTM’s front door

Fernandez’s answer can be interpreted one of two ways: Either that he wanted to remain in Moto2 for another season to go for the title, or he wanted KTM to release him from his contract to join Petronas SRT Yamaha.

Either way, dropping that bombshell hours after the deal was confirmed at KTM’s home round (with another next week) is going to generate a wave of negative publicity for the Austrian firm in what is normally a celebration.

If it is because he saw his future with Yamaha then Fernandez is upset KTM opted to honour the existing contract, which it is certainly within its right to do so.

However, no team particularly wants to hold a rider to a contract against their will, which is why riders like Maverick Vinales was able to negotiate an early exit from Yamaha and why Johann Zarco was released by KTM with more than a year to go on his contract back in 2019.

While DAZN didn’t seemingly follow up on that soundbite, one can assume Fernandez will be asked to clarify what he meant at some point in the near future… though KTM might be having a stern word or two in his ear before that happens.