MotoGP

Pedrosa set for early KTM debut

Dani Pedrosa set to ride the KTM RC16 for the first time at Jerez later this month.
Pedrosa set for early KTM debut

Dani Pedrosa is set to make his debut as a KTM MotoGP test rider later this month.

The former Repsol Honda rider, who retired from racing at Valencia, had been expected to complete his first RC16 laps during February's opening 2019 test at Sepang.

However KTM CEO Stefan Pierer told Speedweek.com that Pedrosa's debut has now been brought forward to December 18-19 at Jerez, with Honda agreeing to release the Spaniard.

"We are now testing with Pedrosa before Christmas and not only at the IRTA test in Malaysia in February," Pierer is quoted as saying.

"We had agreed that he would not test in November. But now we have found a fair solution with Honda. I'm curious what comes out of this test.

"We've had a lot of new components to try because Mika has been badly injured since July and could not test."

Pol Espargaro was the top KTM rider during official post-season testing at Valencia and Jerez, but only 13th and 17th respectively, with new star-signing Johann Zarco down in 21st and 19th.

Such results could have prompted the factory, which took its debut podium with Espargaro in the wet Valencia race, to pursue the earlier December test for Pedrosa.

Since Pedrosa is no longer a full-time MotoGP rider, he is not subject to the winter test ban, which began on December 1 and runs until January 31.

The #26 will be sharing KTM test duties with Mika Kallio and be reunited with former crew chief Mike Leitner, now team manager of Red Bull KTM.

Pedrosa won 31 races and was MotoGP title runner-up three times between 2006-2018, having been a triple champion in the 125cc and 250cc classes between 2003-2005.

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