2019 MotoGP News: Tech3 KTM

Paddock chatter began in late February, rumoring that the iconic Tech3 team run by the respected ex-racer Herve Poncharal would depart with Yamaha.

Tech3 joined the premier class in 2001, but not as a factory team. Rather, it was a satellite team that basically got some hand-me-downs from the factory Yamaha team. The closest Tech3 ever got to claiming a team title was in 2012 (Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso) and 2013 (Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith); the team finished third overall both of those years.

These rumors turned out to be truth, and for 2019 Poncharal’s Tech3 team is switching from Yamaha to KTM. Starting in 2019 MotoGP, the Tech3 team will field factory KTM RC16 prototypes.

Red Bull KTM RC16 prototypes
KTM RC16 Prototypes

The news arrives after KTM spent its inaugural year in MotoGP with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith aboard the Red Bull KTM RC16s. Much development occurred during 2017, and Espargaro finished 17th overall, and Smith 21st.

KTM is no stranger to World Championship racing; it entered the Moto3 class in 2012, and became the most successful manufacturer in the class. In 2017, KTM also entered Moto2, and claimed seven top-10 finishes.

“We are very happy to join forces with Tech3 in MotoGP from 2019,” says Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director. “The team has many years of experience and achieved a lot of great results in this championship.

“Their professional structure will make us even stronger. Having four KTM RC16 on the grid is also another big step for us, both for the development of our MotoGP bike and expanding KTM’s structure in the paddock. From the Red Bull Rookies Cup up to MotoGP there is a clear path to the top. We are looking forward to start a great cooperation and I’m thankful towards Hervé Poncharal for the future trust in KTM.”