The final event before the MotoGP summer break, this weekend’s Dutch TT looks like it will also offer the last chance for Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona to impress on track before a decision is made over the remaining 2022 Tech3 KTM seat.
Moto2 title leader Remy Gardner is already confirmed as joining the French team next season, with either Petrucci or Lecuona tipped to stay on as his team-mate.
“We also know that the second seat is not confirmed yet and clearly, it will be interesting to monitor what goes on during the Dutch Grand Prix in order to be closer to the final decision of who will be the team-mate for Remy Gardner in 2022,” said team boss Herve Poncharal.
Petrucci, 30, who moved to the team this season after ten podiums and two wins for Ducati, is currently 18th in the world championship on 23 points and a best race result of fifth. Lecuona, 21, competing in his second premier-class season at Tech3, arrives at Assen ten points behind Petrucci in 21st with a best result of ninth (also in the wet Le Mans race).
While neither rider has so far been able to approach the podium and victory heroics of Factory KTM team rider Miguel Oliveira, Petrucci and Lecuona received the latest RC16 chassis in Germany and Poncharal felt the gap had been closed.
“Although the results of the German Grand Prix were not what we expected, we could see we were a lot closer to the front guys than we used to be before,” said Poncharal.
“Assen is a track, where we should also be quite good and fast.
“Danilo has got a very positive feeling about Assen and he also feels a lot more comfortable with the bike, so altogether I think this could be a nice way to end the first part of the championship, that was not so easy for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team.”
Petrucci, whose Sachsenring race ended early after a tangle with Alex Marquez, finished on the Assen podium in 2017 as a Pramac Ducati rider and was sixth in MotoGP’s most recent 2019 Dutch race.
“Assen is one of my favourite circuits, one of the tracks I know the best since I was doing the European championship,” he said. “Therefore, I can’t wait to ride there, especially as we found a good base and a good base setup for the bike last weekend in Sachsenring.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t score any points, but we managed to show that we are faster. I think the Dutch GP could be a strong race for us and I aim to take home some fine points this time.”
Meanwhile Lecuona, who finished 17th at Sachsenring, has never ridden Assen on a MotoGP bike.
“Assen will be another new track for me with the MotoGP machine, as we didn’t have a race there last year,” he said. “Like at every round, my objectives are the same; I want to finish the race and fight for the top 10.”
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder are already confirmed as remaining at the Factory KTM team in 2022.