KTM confirms wildcard runs for Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro

KTM confirms wildcard runs for Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro

KTM Factory Racing has announced Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro will make their MotoGP wildcard runs in the coming rounds.

KTM Factory has confirmed that Dani Pedrosa will return to racing as a wildcard at the Spanish MotoGP in Jerez while Pol Espargaro will make an appearance at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

The two will be riding a third KTM RC16 entry alongside full-time factory riders Brad Binder and Jack Miller.

As part of his duties as a test rider for KTM, Pedrosa featured in two wildcard races in 2023 after retiring from his full-time career at the conclusion of the 2018 season. In the first, the 31-time MotoGP race winner placed seventh in the Spanish GP at Jerez and an outstanding sixth in the sprint at the same venue.

He later made a triumphant comeback at the San Marino GP in Misano, finishing fourth in both events and narrowly missing out on a podium for the first time since 2017.

KTM stated last month that all the necessary arrangements were in place for Pedrosa to make a wildcard at Jerez and they are awaiting the rider’s approval.

“I had a lot of fun at Jerez last year and the welcome from the fans was amazing,” he said. “We all know Jerez is a special place.

“For us it will also be important to use some references for our tests and put it into the race environment again. This is the main reason to compete in 2024.”

Additionally, KTM has announced the date of Espargaro’s MotoGP wildcard return. The Spaniard lost his Tech3 ride to Augusto Fernandez, therefore assuming the role of a test rider.

Espargaro is scheduled to participate in the Italian GP at the start of June, marking his first race since last year’s Valencia GP. After being sidelined for half of the previous season following a serious crash in Portugal, the rider says he feels a lot more like himself and can’t wait to return to racing on the new KTM.

“Really happy to be racing again and especially at Mugello, which is a very special place to get on a MotoGP bike,” the former Tech3 Yamaha, KTM Factory and Repsol Honda rider said. “It will be cool to be back on the grid with the guys. Testing has been going really well and I’m very motivated.

“I am more like my ‘old self’ after the injury of 2023. I’m looking forward to being right back into the MotoGP ‘family’ and showing that our testing work is strong and fast.”

KTM has been granted a maximum of six wildcard appearances for the 2024 season because it operates as a C-ranking manufacturer under MotoGP’s concession regulations. As a result, Pedrosa and Espargaro may participate in four more races this year, depending on the team’s decision on the allocation of its remaining wildcards.

In 2024, Yamaha, Honda, and Aprilia will have the opportunity to field a minimum of six wildcards based on their rankings under the new concessions system.

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