Dani Pedrosa could soon say goodbye to KTM and his role as test rider. The Austrian manufacturer would already have the name of his replacement.
It was the end of the 2019 season when Dani Pedrosa resigned as a driver MotoGP, at the end of a long career that lasted 18 years, 13 of which in the premier class, always and only with the Honda brand. An icon of the Golden Wing House who however decided to move to KTM as a test rider in 2019, to start a new professional chapter, which led him to play a central role for the Austrian brand.
He has been contributing to the development of the prototype for four years KTM RC16, the latest new entry in the Top Class grid, first of all by making changes to the chassis and then focusing attention on the evolution of other technical areas. From day one you worked in tandem with the Finn Mika Kallio, for some time relegated to a secondary role in the Mattighofen test team. But both could soon leave the task of testers to make room for some younger colleagues.
Dani Pedrosa towards farewell to MotoGP?
KTM has managed to put a competitive bike on the track in just six years, from its MotoGP debut in 2017 with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. It can already boast a certain number of victories in the GPs, but the Austrian brand is aiming high after hiring some important technical and managerial figures from the Ducati box, last in chronological order Alberto Giribuola, who closed the season as crew chief alongside Enea Bastianini. In 2023 the Australian Jack Miller will also line up on the grid and an old acquaintance like Pol Espargarò will return to Tech3.
But eyes are also on the name of a new test rider, as Kallio is 40 and Pedrosa is 37. During a recent three-day private test in Jerez de la Frontera, KTM invited former MotoGP rider Jonas Folger to a few laps with the RC16. Hubert Trunkenpolzmanaging director of Pierer Mobility AG, acknowledged to Speedweek.com that “it’s not easy to find good MotoGP test riders” who have some experience in the top MotoGP series. “We need to make sure we find a younger test pilot in Kallio’s place. We have excellent test riders with Pedrosa and Kallio, but they are getting on in years“.
It’s also on the KTM wish list Stefan Bradl, Honda test rider for six years, whose contract expires at the end of 2023. That would be a big hit, considering his experience in the premier class and having competed in numerous races, including as a replacement for Marc Marquez. Furthermore, not a secondary element, he speaks German. CEO Stefan Pierer admits to “know Stefan’s contractual situation well” Why “German-speaking pilots are always welcome with us“.