Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira have shown the path. Both the South African and the Portuguese have moved through Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, then Moto3 and Moto2 categories to steer factory machinery in the premier class while notching GP victories every step of the way. The KTM GP Academy is an initiative that sources the next ‘Binders’ and ‘Oliveiras’ from schemes such as the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Northern Talent Cup and Austrian Junior Cup – where youngsters are already becoming familiar with KTM machinery – and helps provide the brightest prospects with a route through to the pinnacle of the sport. It also identifies other developing racers that can blend with the attitude and ethos of KTM’s racing approach.
In Moto3 KTM hold the current riders’ title. Red Bull KTM Ajo will oversee the speed of GP winner Jaume Masia (20 years old from Spain) and countryman 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Champion Pedro Acosta (a 16-year-old rookie). Also riding KTM RC4s for the Academy are Red Bull KTM Tech3 with Ayumu Sasaki (20, from Japan) and Deniz Öncü (17, from Turkey). The four racers in the vibrant Moto3 division are among a total pack of 12 KTM RC4-equipped runners in 2021. KTM won the inaugural Moto3 world championship in 2012 and a further three riders crowns to-date.
In 2021 the KTM GP Academy counts on Red Bull KTM Ajo pairing Raul Fernandez (20 years old from Spain with two years in Grand Prix and two Moto3 wins) and Remy Gardner (23 years old, Australian with six GP seasons, one win and five podiums) in Moto2. Fernandez continues his trajectory with Aki Ajo’s crew while Gardner, in Moto2 for the last five terms, is new to the set-up.
2021 Moto3 KTM riders
Red Bull KTM Ajo:
Red Bull KTM Tech3:
CIP Green Power:
Avintia Esponsorama Moto3:
2021 Moto2 KTM riders
Red Bull KTM Ajo:
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “Now we have our Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team with two riders who have come all the way through our KTM racing structure we really feel the KTM GP Academy is extra relevant. We can show racers who are still in the early stages of their career that we can give them the tools and the trust to go all the way. This philosophy has been really important and very successful in our motocross program and we really hope it will get even stronger to bring more outstanding stories in MotoGP. Of course, a scheme like this depends on many people, so we’re thankful to all of our staff and partner teams to make this happen. We’re hoping for a fantastic season and some exciting scenes in Moto3 and Moto2 this year.”
Aki Ajo, Red Bull KTM Ajo Team Principal: “Since KTM made the decision to participate in MotoGP, a large part of our journey has been to seek out and train talent to come through Moto3 and Moto2 to reach the premier class. Scouting and rider development has always been close to our hearts and has become one of our specialties. 50% of our work is to achieve good results in Moto3 and Moto2, and the other 50% is to develop the riders so that they are more prepared when they make that mental and technical step up. It is important to find racers with the right attitude and try to use our experience in the KTM organisation to develop them. We are very excited about the 2021 season, because we feel like we have the right riders in our structure. We have a good mix of rookies and experience in both classes.”
Hervé Poncharal, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Principal: “We all know how important the ‘rider factor’ is in Grand Prix and that means we are very proud and happy to be part of the KTM system and confident for the future. The structure with KTM presence in the different series’ and classes means a clear advantage. It’s a bonus for the whole organization. Both Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Öncü have been through the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and are now showing their talent in the world championship maybe they can follow the same route as Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder to become the main ‘weapons’ for KTM in the premier class.”