Moto2 rider Brad Binder is promoted to the KTM factory team in the wake of Johann Zarco’s departure Brad Binder will replace Johann Zarco at KTM for 2020, joining Pol Espargaró at the factory team.
The 24-year-old Moto2 rider was already due to step up to MotoGP next year, with KTM’s satellite Tech3 team, but has been promoted to the works outfit in the wake of Zarco’s exit following the San Marino Grand Prix.
Iker Lecuona will now graduate from Moto2 next year to take the vacant Tech3 seat alongside Miguel Oliveira. KTM did not mention any plans with Mika Kallio, who is standing in for Zarco for the remainder of the season.
Last month, KTM’s motor sport director, Pir Beirer told Motor Sport that Binder was one of KTM’s three “really strong riders for the future”, alongside Espargaro and Oliveira.
The South African won the Moto3 title with KTM in 2016 and is currently fifth in the Moto2 championship, 52 points behind leader Alex Márquez
“It was clear that our plans for 2020 needed to change following our mid-season announcement [of Zarco’s departure],” said Beirer, as KTM’s 2020 line-up was revealed.
“After some thought and talks we decided to move in this direction and let the young, hungry guys with good experience in the other categories of MotoGP show us what they can do.
“Brad is a rider that has made his way through the KTM structure and we have no doubt whatsoever that he can walk into the Red Bull KTM team and keep showing that same style and never-give-up attitude we have seen for a long time.”
Zarco was dismissed by KTM after the San Marino Grand Prix, four weeks after the rider had told KTM he wanted to leave the team at the end of this season.
He was given permission to ride for any other outfit, and is replacing Takaaki Nakagami at LCR Honda for the final three races of the year, while the Japanese rider undergoes surgery.