KTM will "have a problem" replacing Espargaro

KTM admits it will “have a problem” replacing Pol Espargaro for the Silverstone MotoGP round should the Spaniard not recover from injury in time.

KTM will "have a problem" replacing Espargaro

Espargaro suffered a collarbone fracture in a Sunday morning warm-up crash at Brno, the incident initially leaving him unable to feel his arms or legs.

With KTM's tester and designated third rider Mika Kallio also out with injury after damaging his knee ligaments in a crash at the Sachsenring, Espargaro's works RC16 bike was left vacant for both the Brno race and the Austrian Grand Prix.

Article 1.11.3 of the MotoGP regulations states that, in case of rider injury or force majeure, “teams must make every reasonable effort to provide a qualified substitute rider to fulfil their entry obligations within 10 days of withdrawal”.

While Espargaro has now left hospital, it is not clear whether he will be fit to compete at Silverstone in two weeks' time.

Asked at the Red Bull Ring whether KTM was already exploring potential replacements, the firm's head of sport Pit Beirer confirmed that it was, but added: “That is definitely not an easy question with a good answer.

“First of all we hope that Pol is getting fit - if not, we have a problem. There are not many guys sitting at home on the couch and waiting for a call from KTM to ride.

“You see now the last guy [in MotoGP] is riding in the same second as the first guy, and for sure we could find guys to ride the bike, many guys would be happy to do it.

“But if you send the guy out, three-four seconds slower, maybe five, I don't know, I think it is even a safety problem for the other riders on the track.

“So we really struggle, I can tell you, because the guy who we need to replace a rider on this grid is not there at the moment so we have to wait and see and still look through some lists.

“If somebody has some really smart idea, send me an email!”

Jonas Folger, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Jonas Folger, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

Beirer said that KTM has already reached out to former Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger, who was a podium finisher in his rookie campaign in 2017 but is sitting out this year due to illness.

“I can tell you we made our homework and we called him, but of course his decision was not to race this year, and this didn't change, so we didn't even expect any different answer.

“Other than this, there is really nobody sitting home who could really race there. I think Jonas, he could jump in and be on that level, all the other guys I don't think so.”

Although Folger has been strongly linked to a Yamaha test rider role, Beirer did not rule out signing the German in a similar capacity – with KTM looking to add another test rider alongside the recovering Kallio.

“Mika is definitely in our plans in the future to be a test rider but the lesson learned was now also that it can change so quick with the injury and we are there without a test rider - so we are definitely also talking with other guys and KTM will have two test riders next year,” Beirer said.

Alongside Folger, KTM's race rider Bradley Smith, who will be replaced by Johann Zarco in 2019, and Honda's retiring ace Dani Pedrosa are in the frame for the vacancy.

Beirer said of Pedrosa: “For sure he would be a very interesting rider [to sign for the test role] and I can tell you we are talking to him. Let's wait [to see] how the discussion ends.”

Additional reporting by David Gruz and Maria Reyer

shares
comments
Austria MotoGP: Marquez leads Redding in rain-soaked FP2
Previous article

Austria MotoGP: Marquez leads Redding in rain-soaked FP2

Next article

Austria the worst track of the year for Yamaha – Rossi

Austria the worst track of the year for Yamaha – Rossi
Load comments
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Prime

What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021
The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano Prime

The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2021
Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Prime

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Motorsport.com pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on.

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021