This weekend’s Grand Prix of Qatar sets the KTM GP Academy into motion for this season’s world championship in Moto3™ and Moto2™ and where the structure will be chasing more title success.
The first round of 21 in 2022 MotoGP at the Losail International Circuit sees the KTM GP Academy launch their bid to defend ‘world champion’ status in both the Moto3 and Moto2 categories. The Red Bull KTM Ajo and Red Bull KTM Tech3 teams will place a fierce line-up onto the respective grids with the hope of emulating some of the glory of 2021 and to further develop the MotoGP stars of tomorrow.
Red Bull KTM Ajo finished 1-2 in 2021 Moto2 thanks to world champion Remy Gardner and runner-up Raul Fernandez, and the Australian and Spaniard have taken the final step in the KTM GP Academy to become Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders in the premier class. The Ajo crew also won the ’21 Moto3 world championship with teenage rookie sensation Pedro Acosta (17 years old) as the Spaniard moves up to join new recruit (and consistent podium finisher) Augusto Fernandez (24) in the intermediate class this term. Ajo will orientate their Moto3 efforts around Grand Prix winner Jaume Masia (21) and 2021 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup star and full-time GP debutant Daniel Holgado (16).
Red Bull KTM Tech3 will polish their Moto3 roster with the KTM RC4 thanks to the irrepressible speed of Deniz Öncü (18) as well as the evolving potential of Adrian Fernandez (18) – 2022 is only his second year in Grands Prix. In total there will be 14 KTM RC4s in 2022 Moto3.
As well as the goals for Moto3 and Moto2 competition, KTM will again be present with full grids for Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup events (seven rounds and 14 races), Northern Talent Cup and Austrian Junior Cup competition to help burgeoning racers reach the next levels of their careers.
Jaume Masià, Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3: "We start the new season in Qatar after some good work and training during the winter. I’m really excited to begin another championship and to feel that emotion again as we get close to a race weekend. I’ve missed it! We’re enthusiastic about the year ahead and have the full belief that we’ll be able to give the best of ourselves each weekend to take the best possible results. We get underway in Qatar: a circuit that holds some good memories and hopefully we’ll open the season with another positive performance there.”
Dani Holgado, Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3: "I’m really looking forward to starting 2022 and my first full season in Moto3. We’ll go for it with ambition, and excitement, while making sure we give the best we can. We’ll work step-by-step and lap-by-lap with the team because it will be a long year with plenty of circuits that we don’t know. I hope I can adapt as fast as possible to try and be competitive and to show improvement. My goal from my first season is to learn as much as I can for the next one…but I also want to enjoy myself to the full and fight for anything I can get.”
Augusto Fernández, Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2: "Here we go; I’m excited to start racing. Even though everybody wants to win and go for leading positions, we have to think that this championship is 21 Grands Prix. It will be a long campaign: we must work and keep our heads. Our goal is to fight for the title so we don’t have to think about victory in Qatar but to consider consistency throughout 2022. We have to keep calm, push and search for more while making sure we always give the best we can have. Step-by-step and if we have options for victory then we’ll go for it.”
Pedro Acosta, Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2: “After some great work during pre-season with the team we will start the season with good feelings and a positive mentality. This year I will be familiar with all the circuits, even though it will be the first time I ride them with the Moto2 bike. So, we need to try to learn and understand this category. In this first season in the intermediate class I don’t want to set objectives. My only goal is to enjoy every Grand Prix and work hard with the team so that we can make forward steps day-after-day.”
Aki Ajo, Red Bull KTM Ajo Team Principal: “We’re enthusiastic to continue our work around the KTM GP Academy. What we’ve done together with KTM and Red Bull in the last few years with the Academy has been unique in the paddock. It’s a project in which we have invested a lot of time and effort to develop the riders and help them grow. In turn this has also helped us to be strong at the same moment even when some of the targets were long-term. Last year, without doubt, was the best for us and we could make some fascinating results. We’re now excited for the new season that gets underway this week with our teams and riders in Moto3 and Moto2. In Moto2, for 2022, we are counting on the experience of Augusto Fernandez and the youth of Pedro Acosta. We have two fast and talented riders, and we believe they will push each other and raise their respective levels even further. The same can be said for Moto3. Jaume Masia begins his second season with the team and has already shown he has the ability to fight for race wins and then also the title. On the other side of the box, Dani Holgado opens his first year in the world championship but we’re also sure he’ll be pushing for good results.”
Deniz Öncü, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Moto3: “I had a good preseason and prepared myself well. After an injury in December that stopped me from training, I started properly in January, ate well, and worked on both physical and mental sides. This year, I want to fight for the Moto3 World Championship. I believe that I now have a good experience in this category, I feel very good in the team, I have an amazing staff around me and I have the level to fight for it. During the preseason tests, I was strong and had a good pace, although it was only testing. My goal is to be more consistent and more clever. There is just one thing left to do, go racing.”
Adrian Fernandez, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Moto3: “I am very happy with the preseason tests we had in Valencia, Jerez and Portimao. The Red Bull KTM Tech3 team is fantastic and I have adapted very quickly to their way of working. I felt comfortable with my new bike straight away and I am looking forward to the first race in Qatar. I am sure that 2022 will be a good year.”
Hervé Poncharal, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Principal: “After having concluded our three preseason winter tests with the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew, we feel more than ready to start the 2022 season in Qatar. KTM has done a great job to improve their machine, and I believe that our 2022 bike is clearly a step ahead of the one we had last year. It is now Deniz’ third year in the Moto3 World Championship, and I believe that he will be a title contender this year. He has gained a lot of maturity over the last two years, so he will be one to watch out for. He has a new teammate, Adrian Fernandez, who is very involved and willing to learn. I am certain that 2022 will be a great season and a new step in his young career. The Red Bull KTM Tech3 team is eager to kick off and dreams big.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “So many things went right for our KTM GP Academy program in 2021 that it’s hard to imagine we can have another year the same. We will go racing to win, but we also go onto the track with one eye on the bigger picture. This means trying for success and titles and keeping the same targets, although the progression of our young riders and the potential that we see right from those first races in the Junior Cups and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is also very important. It’s where the knowledge and experience of people like Aki and Herve make a big difference. We are equally excited about Pedro’s progress as we are for young Daniel and Adrian and we know Augusto, Jaume and Deniz will be regular names at the front of their classes. We know we have a very fast bike in Moto3 and it is a platform that young riders will be familiar with when they can finally make it to Grand Prix. Overall, we really want to see who can make that big push inside the Academy and who can come in next by the end of 2022.”