Pol Espargaro says he felt the need to step aside during KTM’s decision process for the 2024 MotoGP season.
The GASGAS Tech3 rider was one of three riders vying for a seat on KTM’s satellite team, but their request for a fifth bike on the grid was denied. As a result, Pol Espargaro will step aside and take on a test rider role with wildcard appearances, while Augusto Fernandez and Pedro Acosta will join the team. Although Espargaro admitted that it was the right decision, leaving full-time racing will be difficult for him to accept after dedicating 15/16 years of his life to MotoGP. He views this move as a step to the side, rather than a step back, in order to support the factory with a talented rider like Pedro Acosta, whom Espargaro sees as the future of the brand. One factor contributing to Espargaro’s willingness to make way for Acosta is his own risk assessment, as he has become more cautious with age, resulting in a slight decrease in his speed. He acknowledges that as one matures, they naturally take precautions to prevent further injuries or accidents. This increased awareness, although necessary, puts a mental weight on the rider and makes them slightly slower due to taking less risks. In MotoGP, the level of risk one is willing to take is a crucial aspect of the sport.