Espargaro retains KTM works ride until 2020

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Espargaro retains KTM works ride until 2020
Valentin Khorounzhiy
By: Valentin Khorounzhiy
May 2, 2018, 12:21 PM

Pol Espargaro has renewed his deal with the KTM MotoGP outfit until the end of 2020, the Austrian manufacturer has announced.

Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Tech 3
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Former Moto2 champion Espargaro joined KTM's nascent premier-class programme on an initial two-year deal back in 2017, after having spent three years with the Tech 3 Yamaha squad.

He led the marque's efforts in 2017, twice posting the best finish of its debut season with ninth place and ending the campaign 17th overall.

"It has been really easy for me to make this decision; I did not think of another possibility for even a minute," Espargaro said of his new two-year deal with KTM. 

"I cannot hide how happy I am being involved in this amazing project, despite the challenges and the work we still have to go through.

"I love the KTM philosophy and I want to continue trying to reach our goals. I don’t know when we will be able to do it, but I’m sure that we will arrive."

The Spaniard's preparations for 2018 had been hobbled by a pre-season injury, but he has now scored all eight of the marque's points from the first three races of the year.

The news of Espargaro's contract extension will almost certainly spell the end of his current teammate Bradley Smith's works KTM stint, as the Austrian manufacturer is set to sign Tech 3 Yamaha ace Johann Zarco for the other factory ride.

"Pol has been such a strong part of our project and gave us a lot of trust and belief as well as the highlights so far with two ninth positions," KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer said.

"I’m really happy we can continue together for another two years because we can build on the work we have already done and keep progressing with the bike; he should definitely be one of the people that should benefit from everything we have achieve and learned and how we will push on in the future."

2019 MotoGP grid so far:

TeamRiders
Repsol Honda

 Marc Marquez

TBA

Movistar Yamaha

 Valentino Rossi

 Maverick Vinales

Ducati

TBA

Suzuki

TBA

Aprilia

TBA

KTM 

 Pol Espargaro

TBA

LCR Honda

 Cal Crutchlow

TBA

Marc VDS

 Franco Morbidelli

TBA

Pramac Ducati

 Francesco Bagnaia

TBA

Nieto

TBA

Avintia

 Xavier Simeon

TBA

Tech 3 KTM

TBA

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