Will Dani Pedrosa finally be tempted into making a wild-card MotoGP entry for KTM?
Rumours have been gathering that the 31-time premier-class race winner has been pencilled in for a place on the grid at one of the upcoming Austrian rounds or Misano.
Pedrosa spent his entire grand prix career with Honda but then switched to KTM as a test rider after retiring at the end of 2018, where his input has been widely credited for helping turn the RC16 into a MotoGP winner.
While KTM has always stated that wild-cards would be available if Pedrosa wanted them, the Spaniard has previously declined all such offers.
But in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the 35-year-old explained that it would now be ‘interesting’ to take his test riding role to the next level by putting prototype parts through a real race distance.
“What motivates me the most with KTM is helping to improve the bike and, by extension, the performance of the riders,” Pedrosa said. “It is also nice to see the technical decisions that are made based on the results of the tests I make.
“Participating as a wild-card could allow us to measure certain parameters that cannot be checked in the tests.
“In my first phase as a test rider with KTM something like that [wild-card] didn’t make sense, because I had to focus on getting a good rhythm [with the bike]. But now that we are beginning to refine details, it could be interesting to participate in a race.
“But I can’t tell you if it will happen.”
As well as contributing to a new chassis that has helped transform Miguel Oliveira‘s fortunes since Mugello, Pedrosa’s current duties include development of next year’s RC16.
Oliveira and factory team-mate Brad Binder got their first taste of that prototype bike during the Catalunya test.
With the Covid technical freeze coming to an end at the final race of this year, every area of the motorcycle can be updated (for all manufacturers) for 2022.
However, should Pedrosa accept an upcoming wild-card entry to help race-develop the 2022 KTM, he would still need to use the existing (2021) engine design:
‘Wild Card entries using machines from an MSMA manufacturer currently entered in the MotoGP class are subject to all technical regulations related to their specific manufacturer, including engine specification…’
The factory had been open about the Frenchman’s use of a prototype powerplant, having been unaware that the engine homologation rules also apply to wild-cards.