Pedro Acosta has finally been confirmed within the GasGas MotoGP squad for 2024, the Spaniard is joined by reigning Moto2 world champion Augusto Fernandez as Pol Espargaro becomes KTM’s test rider.
KTM has been desperately searching for a way to bring the highly-rated Acosta, who won the Moto3 title on his first attempt in 2021 and is currently leading this year’s Moto2 championship. The Austrian manufacturer was forced to find a place in the premier class for its protégé as he was able to look elsewhere for a ride should the brand be unable to offer one of its berths.
With Brad Binder performing well and signing a contract extension with KTM earlier this year, its other three riders Espargaro, Fernandez, and even Binder’s factory team-mate Jack Miller were rumoured to be sounded out for a switch to a test role for 2024. This reportedly guaranteed a wildcard program consisting of six race events, as well as an increase in salary compared to this year.
KTM revealed on Friday though that it had elected to demote Espargaro to the test role following recent strong performances from Fernandez, who finished seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix last time out. Fernandez and Acosta will thus make up GasGas’ 2024 line-up, with Binder and Miller making up KTM’s roster.
“We had an important and difficult decision to make for our GASGAS team for 2024. Augusto has made impressive first steps in MotoGP and we are convinced he has the speed and the intelligence to keep on progressing,” said KTM and GasGas Motorsports Director Pit Beirer.
“Pedro is a very special talent who has already won so much, so quickly and 2024 will be about him learning to take the next step with the big boys in MotoGP. I want to thank Pol for everything he has done and all he continues to do for us.
“This guy is super-tough and super-determined and that’s why we want to count on him as an important part of our structure. Pol’s openness and proactiveness deserves my deepest respect. It underlines his greatness as a person that he gave us a helping hand in this situation.”
KTM hopes to capture the two spaces preserved for a new manufacturer held by Dorna since Suzuki’s exit at the end of 2022 for 2025. This will allow the marque to enter two more bikes, thus giving it a way of getting Espargaro back onto the grid full-time.
It would likely use the MV Augusta brand for its third operation, with KTM’s parent company Pierer Mobility AG having taken a significant stake in the Italian manufacturer last year.