Iker Lecuona gets early MotoGP debut with Tech 3 KTM

Red Bull KTM Tech 3 replaces the injured Miguel Oliveira with its 2020 MotoGP signing, Iker Lecuona, for the 2019 season finale in Valencia

Miguel Oliveira - Tech 3 KTM

Iker Lecuona will make his MotoGP World Championship debut earlier than anticipated after being called up to replace Miguel Oliveira in the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team at the Valencia finale.

The Spaniard is already confirmed to compete in the 2020 MotoGP Championship with the French-based team in place of Brad Binder, who was promoted to the Austrian manufacturer’s factory set up to replace the departed Johann Zarco.

However, with Oliveira currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his injured shoulder ahead of the final 2019 round in Spain, Lecuona will substitute as a precursor to a full 2020 campaign.

He will partner the rider he effectively replaces at KTM Tech 3, Hafizh Syharin, who makes his MotoGP swansong in Valencia ahead of a return to Moto2 in 2020.

Early Christmas present for Iker Lecuona

While the decision to promote Lecuona early seems logical on paper, it still represents a big turn of events for the Spanish youngster.

Indeed, it caps off a career-changing few weeks for Lecuona, who has been competing in the Moto2 World Championship, after he was picked to fill one of the vacant seats emerging from KTM in the wake of Zarco’s premature departure from the team.

He, along with Binder, will be one of only two rookies competing on the MotoGP grid in 2020 with the earlier-than-anticipated debut intended to give him a head-start on his preparations for next season.

Even so, this has been a sharp rise to prominence for Lecuona who has managed a relatively meagre two podiums in three seasons of Moto2,

While his rate of success in those three seasons might raise an eyebrow over his MotoGP candidacy, at 19-years-old he does have time on his side to prove he belongs in the top flight, while he has enjoyed a confidence-boosting upturn in form since his promotion progressed from rumour to reality.