Petrucci to Tech 3 KTM as Oliveira promoted to Factory team for 2021

Danilo Petrucci lands KTM deal for the 2021 MotoGP season but will ride with the Tech 3 Racing team, with Miguel Oliveira promoted to the Factory outfit

Danilo Petrucci - Ducati Corse MotoGP

KTM has confirmed the signing of Danilo Petrucci for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season but has unexpectedly placed him in the satellite Tech 3 Racing team rather than the Factory outfit.

The Italian has been closely linked with a move to the Austrian outfit in recent weeks after he was eased out of the Ducati line-up by Jack Miller, though he was expected to join the Factory team alongside Brad Binder.

However, in a late twist, KTM confirmed it has promoted Miguel Oliveira from Tech 3 to the Factory squad, with Petrucci – a race winner – moved into the satellite outfit.

The announcement all but assures Pol Espargaro will be joining Repsol Honda for the 2021 MotoGP season, with confirmation expected to be imminent just weeks before the start of the delayed 2020 campaign.

Though Petrucci might baulk at the idea of joining a satellite team, Tech 3 is nonetheless a well-respected set up having secured numerous podiums over the years in its erstwhile role as a Yamaha satellite outfit. Moreover, the team made the switch to KTM on the premise it would be given the same current specification machinery from 2020 onwards.

Even so, the decision to promote Oliveira is likely to be a reaction to the Portuguese rider’s frustration he was overlooked for a move to the Factory team for 2020 when it instead chose rookie Brad Binder to replace Johann Zarco when he left prematurely last year.

“It gives me great pleasure to stick these four hungry guys together for our MotoGP program," said KTM motorsport director Pit Beirer.

"Brad and Miguel have a productive working relationship and have shown the talent and the desire to win races through all stages of Grand Prix. We believe they have the determination necessary to push our MotoGP project forward.

"The same goes for Red Bull KTM Tech3 where we’re happy to bring Danilo into the family. His experience counts for a lot but we’re also banking on a rider that is committed and with the right attitude. We believe he still has something to show in MotoGP.

"On one side we are investing in MotoGP front-runners ‘of the future’ but they could easily become stars already in 2021 and that would be exciting to see.

"We have two set-ups but really it is one big team with all four athletes on the same bikes and with the same possibilities. Our riders’ development and success will be a great KTM story and it will taste even sweeter to take these guys to new heights in such a tough competition.”

Petrucci’s signing means he becomes the first MotoGP race winner to join the KTM set up since the manufacturer joined the series in 2017.