KTM Rumored to Think about Picking Pol Espargaro as the Second Factory Rider

KTM RC16 during testing 1 photo
Photo: KTM
The latest paddock rumors see KTM eyeing offering Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro a contract for 2017 and possibly for 2018 as well. If these rumors turn out to be true, we are looking at a relocation of the two satellite Yamaha drivers a the Austrian team, and that is a bit funny.
It's no secret that the younger of the Espargaro brothers, who stepped up to MotoGP two seasons ago, is looking for a factory seat. Obviously, it was the one vacated by Jorge Lorenzo going at Ducati that Pol Espargaro hoped for, but his rather modest overall performance made short work of such aspirations.

Yamaha team principal Lin Jarvis declared: "Pol, we haven't considered him for the factory ride. We haven't considered him because his performances over the last years have not been consistent enough and high-level enough to warrant the factory ride. Last year, Brandley was ahead of Pol in the championship; that was a disappointing season. So far, Pol has begun this year's championship better but he's still quite a gap behind the leaders in each and every race. I think that Pol still needs to improve himself, and I think that the bike he has now is capable fo better results than he's achieving."

"Would he do better in a factory team? Possibly yes, possibly SLIGHTLY yes, but a seat is still available at Tech 3, that position remains available to Pol until the moment he decides not to take it. I hope Pol will mature as a rider and maybe he will become a factory rider in the future," Jarvis added.

That being the case, Pol Espargaro still has an option for Yamaha Tech 3 as revealed by Lin Jarvis, but he might be taking the bet and try his luck with a full-factory outfit, albeit one in its first year with an all-new bike.

How good KTM's MotoGP machine is yet a total mystery, even though the Mattighofen officials say that the project is doing exceptionally fine. If anything, the KTM will not lack power, as the Austrians already say the engine produces north of 270 horsepower, so the struggles Suzuki had last year in search of extra grunt will not be on the list.

A way to efficiently control all this power seems like the next thing for KTM's engineers. We saw last Sunday how a small wheelie could lose a race. Jorge Lorenzo passed Marc Marquez yards ahead the checkered flag, only because the Honda lost a bit of momentum in a wheelie.

However, It appears that Pol Espargaro will have to choose between the bike and the team he knows already, and try to become a better rider in the next one or two seasons, and take a leap into the unknown with KTM. At least he would have his old teammate next to him, should he choose the Austrians.
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