Spin market for MotoGP riders as KTM bid for Oliveira U-turn

Pit Beirer, the motorsport boss of KTM and Gas Gas, has revealed an attempt to keep Miguel Oliveira within the marque’s MotoGP family, with a view to breaking up Oliveira’s planned move to RNF Aprilia.

The Portuguese rider was replaced in KTM’s factory team by Jack Miller and was not receptive to the brand’s offer to demote him to the Tech3 satellite team, instead exploring options at Gresini Ducati – where the seats are now filled – and the new Aprilia satellite team.

Still, with Friday’s announcement of Tech3 officially rebranding itself as the factory Gas Gas team for 2023, Beirer also let slip that he hoped the status change would help Oliveira change his mind about leaving – even if the team has already signed Pol Espargaro.

“We can’t confirm the team’s second runner yet,” Beirer said. “There is still a chance to keep our friend Miguel in the family. Nothing is decided for the moment. Let’s wait a little longer.

Pressed on whether a renewed offer has been made to Oliveira, Beirer said: “We are just repeating our offer, yeah! We keep him posted.

“We know it might not be the easiest chance, and he might not have understood at first what the future might bring, but today it’s a little easier to talk about the future, if you see the bike, the project and we can call it a factory team, and it can also be a leader for young riders.

“Yes, he will have a new proposal today.”

Financial conditions were never thought to be the sticking point for Oliveira and so ‘repeat offer’ in different suits could theoretically appeal. At Gas Gas he would be promised “identical” spec bikes to the KTM RC16s, while at RNF Aprilia he would have to settle for one-year-old RS-GPs.

But Beirer’s hint that Oliveira could be receptive is a remarkable development – not just because a move would pair Oliveira with Espargaro, who he had a brief public spat with in 2020.

More particularly than that, it would leave Tech3 rookie Remy Gardner suddenly needing to find a new job, although he looked favorite to retain the seat thanks to both his own credible form and the disillusionment surrounding teammate Raul Fernandez. .

Asked about his plans on Thursday, Gardner said: “Hopefully after the weekend, find out something. Let’s see.”

If Gardner lost to Oliveira on the Gas Gas ride, it would create a fascinating RNF lineup situation, with no rides filled and Gardner and the KTM-nervous Fernandez in the market alongside RNF incumbent Darryn Binder.

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Earnest L. Veasey