KTM suffers ‘stormy week’ after technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini confirms exit

KTM suffers ‘stormy week’ after technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini confirms exit

KTM has announced it has parted ways with its technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini after failing to agree terms on a contract extension.

Fabiano Sterlacchini will leave his senior role as Vice President of Technology for Road Racing at KTM after failing to agree on terms for a new contract.

Sterlacchini previously served as Ducati’s MotoGP technical coordinator before signing with KTM in 2021.

This was considered to be a major achievement for the team because he worked closely with Ducati technical expert Gigi Dall’Igna during the period when the Ducati Desmosedicis went from unreliable and underpowered bikes to the dominant force in MotoGP.

His appointment as technical director was a part of a reshuffle that also saw Pramac team boss Francesco Guidotti take over as KTM team manager in place of team manager Mike Leitner before Ducati hired further KTM staff the following year.

Sterlacchini’s official title saw him responsible for KTM’s overall road racing activities alongside fellow Vice President Jens Hainbach. The only people above them in the KTM racing hierarchy were company CEO Stefan Pierer, CMO Hubert Trunkenpolz and Motorsports Director Pit Beirer.

However, Sterlacchini’s contract was up for renewal, and during the German MotoGP weekend, Italian publication GPOne broke the news that he and KTM would be splitting up. KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer later confirmed the news to the series’ official broadcast.

According to Beirer, Sterlacchini was homesick but this wasn’t the main reason behind the lack of reaching a consensus on a contract renewal.

“It was a stormy week for us,” Beirer said during opening practice at the Sachsenring. “Fabiano was at the end of his contract.

“In the last week, we had some discussions. We tried to renew. We were working on a new three-year contract with him. But at the end of the day, we just couldn’t agree to some things.

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“For him the distance from his home was one part. But I don’t want to use this as our main excuse.

“We just couldn’t agree on some things on how to continue. That’s why we mutually agreed to split up.”

He also gave Sterlacchini a lot of credit for getting the project to “a very stable base right now” and also confirmed he was leaving on good terms and will remain ‘a friend’.

“He has created some areas in our project we didn’t even cover and he’s built them up,” Beirer added. “We took a different direction. I feel our project is on a much more stable base [thanks to his input].

“We have more great people and we’ve found them together over the past few years. I’m happy with what he did.

“We don’t want to go into why we won’t go on together, but there was no broken contract. He was at the end of his contract and we couldn’t find an agreement for his future.

“Also, the distance to his home didn’t help. All in all, he’s leaving KTM as a friend.”

KTM hasn’t won a grand prix since previous rider Miguel Oliveira secured victory at Buriram in 2022, despite placing second to Ducati in the MotoGP constructors’ title and Brad Binder taking a KTM best of fourth in the riders’ standings.

The team currently sits third in MotoGP’s constructors’ standings, two points behind Aprilia but further behind the dominant Ducati.

Whether Sterlacchini will join a rival MotoGP team is still up in the air.

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