Spanish GasGas storms into the MotoGP World Championship with Pol Espargaró

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The MotoGP World Championship is getting a new manufacturer in 2023, albeit with a trick. The Spanish GasGas will compete next season painting the bikes of the KTM satellite team, the Austrian group that in 2019 bought the brand born in Salt (Girona) in 1985. Due to the legal complications of launching a factory without prior approval from the side of the other manufacturers, the Zaragoza-based company will embark on its adventure as the main sponsor of the Tech 3 team.

The novelty comes at a crucial time for the event after the surprise announcement of the departure of Suzuki, who had reached an agreement to remain in the competition until at least 2026. Despite the presence of GasGas, the starting field will be reduced by two bikes in the next course. since the gap left by the Japanese plant will not be filled immediately. Dorna, the company that exploits the rights to the World Cup, intends to present a first-class manufacturer in the future. The one who has sounded the most in this sense has been BMW, although its accession could last until the end of the current agreement within the World Motorcycling Manufacturers Association (MSMA).

In this new adventure, the KTM subsidiary will have at least one familiar face for the brand. Hervé Poncharal, Sport Director of Tech 3, confirmed Pol Espargaró (Granollers, 1991) as one of his drivers at the presentation of the new project. The presence of the Catalan, who competed with the Austrian factory for four seasons and took six of his eight premier class podiums there, has been an open secret for weeks. The name of his companion is unknown but it was suggested locally that Portuguese Miguel Oliveira, current member of the KTM factory team, is best placed to join the new project. The future of Madrid’s Raúl Fernández, runner-up in the Moto2 world last year, and Australia’s Remy Gardner, current members of the satellite team, is still up in the air.

“We have big plans for the brand and intend to have a second factory team under the GasGas name. It will be the main sporting commitment of the group,” explained Hubert Trunkenpolz, CMO of Pierer Mobility, the group that includes KTM, Husqvarna and the Spanish brand. “We entered the paddock as an off-road brand, but this project has turned into something very promising, Jorge Aspar’s great work in Moto2 has also fueled this idea that we are announcing today, for that I would like to say a big thank you,” commented Pit Beirer, Director of KTM Motorsport.

This 2022 is proving to be a great year for GasGas, which was set to disappear a few years ago due to financial problems and was bought by another investment group back in 2015. In January, the Brit Sam Sunderland won the Dakar Rally and put the name of the Spanish brand on the prestigious list of winners of the legendary endurance test. As will be the case with the red-painted bikes next season, the victory was more of a visual milestone than a real one, as hidden under the fairing was a replica KTM 450 Rally, the works bike used by the official riders of the Austrian brand was used.

Marketing twists and colors aside, the presence at the World Cup of a benchmark of two wheels of Spanish origin, which maintains part of its production chain in Salt and Terrassa, is very good news for the health of the event, especially after the escape of a giant like Suzuki. In a delicate moment where audiences and attendance at the circuit have declined, Dorna has proposed introducing sprint races on Saturdays, in the style of Formula 1, but every weekend from next season, depending on what has progressed. the specialist portal Motorsport.com.

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