Tech 3 becomes GasGas Factory Racing, announces first rider for 2023 MotoGP

From 2023, Tech 3 will become the GasGas Factory Racing Team in MotoGP, running rebranded KTM RC16 motorcycles. Pol Espargaro will be one of its riders.

GasGas RC16

GasGas has announced it will be entering MotoGP for the 2023 season, and that one of its riders will be Pol Espargaro.

It is not a new manufacturer, of course, but a new brand as part of the Pierer Mobility Group which also houses KTM

As in Moto3 where GasGas, like Husqvarna and CFMoto, use rebadged KTM machinery, the GasGas MotoGP project will use KTM RC16s in red paint. 

Of course, in Moto3 and Moto2, the GasGas teams are run by the Aspar team, but that will not be the case in MotoGP. Obviously, KTM already has a satellite team in MotoGP, Tech 3, and it will be the French outfit which will field the red bikes from Austria. 

What this means for Moto2 and Moto3 remains unclear. Currently, Tech 3 runs Red Bull-liveried KTMs in Moto3 which look incredibly similar to the Red Bull KTM Ajo machines of the ‘factory’ squad. However, this new tie-up with GasGas could see a colour change for next year in the Moto3 team as well, potentially. 

What that means for Aspar is also unclear, although they are mentioned in the GasGas press release announcing their MotoGP project in a quote from Pit Beirer as a “strong partner.”

Aspar was an obvious choice for KTM to run the GasGas paint when the Spanish brands entered the World Championship last year, since they are a Spanish team. In MXGP, for example, the De Carli portion of the Red Bull KTM tent that had run Antonio Cairoli for so many years was rebranded to GasGas for 2022 as its lead rider became Spaniard Jorge Prado, the two-time MX2 World Champion with KTM in 2018 and 2019, after the retirement of Cairoli from MXGP at the end of 2021. 

In a similar way, it makes sense that (at least) one of the riders for GasGas in 2023 will be a Spaniard, and one which has previous experience of KTM MotoGP machinery: Pol Espargaro. 

The Spaniard was with KTM from the beginning of their competitive time in MotoGP when they started in 2017. Having left to ride for HRC in 2021, Espargaro has found, like so many others, that riding for the factory Honda MotoGP team in recent years is not the same as it was before 2016, for example. 

The result has been that Espargaro has been unhappy with the bike (as are all the Honda riders currently, admittedly), and the team has been unhappy with him. So, he is leaving to return to KTM, just this time he will be dressed in red. 

And, in fairness, if the bike looks next year how it does in the photos GasGas sent out for the press release, he will look very good in red, too. 

“GasGas is a winning brand,” said Pierer Mobility Group Motorsports Director, Pit Beirer. “It has reached an incredible level of performance immediately in disciplines like MXGP, Supercross, Enduro and Rally where we have taken Grands Prix, Main Events, world titles and overall winners’ trophies. It’s a relatively new brand for us and we have new goals. 

“We hope the fans that follow ‘the red’ will enjoy the story. Thanks to our strong partner, the Aspar team, in Moto3 and Moto2 we have been able to see the GasGas bikes right at the front of those categories. It would be great to see the same thing eventually in the hardest class of them all. 

“I want to thank Hervé [Poncharal) and the Tech3 factory racing team for keeping an open mind and really supporting this change to become the GasGas Factory Racing Team. We think it’s exciting and different.”

There is no news as yet on who Espargaro's teammate will be, although rumours suggest Remy Gardner will be staying in the Tech 3 team.

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