Tech3, which gave KTM two of its three MotoGP victories last season, is set to agree a new five-year contract extension to remain as the Austrian factory’s Independent partner for the 2022-2026 seasons.
After campaigning Yamaha machinery from 2001-2018, scoring 31 podiums but never a win, Tech3 announced a switch to KTM.
At the time – February 22, 2018 – the decision caused a stir, since KTM had only just completed its very first MotoGP season, with a best result of ninth place to show for its efforts.
However, the Austrian factory was on course for a rising trajectory, claiming a wet podium in year two and improving its dry pace to sixth in year three, when Tech3 took an eighth place with rookie Miguel Oliveira in their debut KTM season.
But the real breakthrough came in 2020, also the first year in which both the Factory team and Tech3 were on equal machinery.
Rookie Brad Binder shocked with the RC16’s first win at Brno before Oliveira made history for Tech3 with victories at the Red Bull Ring and Portimao. Pol Espargaro added five further podiums on his way to a new KTM high of fifth in the world championship.
It was during the Portimao finale that Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal and KTM CEO Stefan Pierer verbally agreed to made a five-year contract extension happen.
“We signed a three-year deal with KTM, which was for 2019, 2020, 2021,” Poncharal explained after today’s KTM team launch.
“I’ve always said I like to work in a very loyal way and I think success not only comes from continuity, but continuity is often a part of success. I stayed 20 years with Yamaha, 18 in the premier-class, and I didn’t sign with KTM just to do three years and then try to go somewhere else.
“In Portimao, I was with [KTM CEO] Stefan Pierer and we were talking about the renewal of the [Independent] teams with Dorna, so I told Stefan I was signing during the Portimao Grand Prix the new five-year deal from 2022-2026 with Dorna.
“So I have what we can call the license for two grid places until the end of 2026, as a team.
“Then we talked about what will happen with our manufacturer and he told me, ‘would you be ready to enter the new contract, maybe long term?’
“I said Stefan, ‘if you wish I’m ready to sign a five-year deal with you because I’m very happy and would hate to go to discuss with anybody else’.
“Then he told me, and Pit Beirer [KTM motorsport director] was at that table also, ‘okay, let’s work on it and do it’.
“So we’ve started to work on it but honestly the most important was to finalise all the logistics, everything we had to do through the winter [for the 2021 season].
“But basically both parties, KTM and Tech3, agree we want to do it. We have to go through a few details because it’s a long term, 5 years, there are a lot of things that can happen during these 5 years.
“But I would say 95% we agree with each other and I really hope before summer starts we will be able to officialise this partnership.
“It’s like a race, when you are leading in the last corner and you crash you haven’t won the race, so nothing is signed 100%. But the will from both parties is there and this is what we are working on now with Pit Beirer.”
Tech3 joins fellow Independent teams Gresini and LCR in confirming places on the future grid, although no satellite team has so far announced machinery beyond this year.
Of the factories, KTM, Ducati and Honda have so far signed with Dorna for 2022-2026 with Suzuki, Yamaha and Aprilia also expected to extend in the near future.
Tech3 will race in a striking new ‘factory orange’ livery this season, KTM taking over as ‘title sponsor’ after Red Bull reduced its backing to only the official team.