until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP

KTM's 2025 'superteam' will answer Binder doubts

by Matt Beer
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Tech3’s 2025 MotoGP line-up Enea Bastianini and Maverick Vinales: 15 grand prix wins between them, and counting.

All Tech3’s previous MotoGP line-ups since it joined KTM for 2019 combined: Two grand prix wins (unsuccessful 2021 signing Danilo Petrucci) before arriving plus the two wins Miguel Oliveira got with Tech3 in 2020. That’s it.

Bastianini brings four years of Ducati experience. Vinales - ex of Suzuki, Yamaha and soon Aprilia too - has sampled most of the grid over his decade in MotoGP.

Aside from Pol Espargaro - with his past Yamaha and (eye-opening) Honda experience - landing at Tech3 last year when brought back into the KTM fold, Ducati veteran Petrucci is the only KTM-era Tech3 newcomer who’s ever arrived from another manufacturer’s MotoGP programme.

The vibe at, purpose of, and expectations of, this team are clearly changing.

Tech3’s status as the ‘Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri/RB’ to the ‘Red Bull Racing’ of KTM has never really needed to be said out loud. It’s been clear from the line-ups, and the liveries in the pre-GasGas branding years too. It’s been where you find the Moto2 graduates.

Not anymore.

Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner, Tech3 KTM, MotoGP

And this transition is happening just as Tech3’s greatest KTM junior rider so far - Pedro Acosta - moves into the factory team.

There are plenty of reasons why now is the moment for KTM to reconfigure its stepping-stone team for kids into its wingman team for bolstering a championship bid.

Given what Acosta’s achieved already in his rookie season, KTM has to be aiming for the 2025 title with him. To do that, it needs to take on Ducati, with its imposing Pecco Bagnaia/Marc Marquez line-up and at least four other bikes, maybe six, in its armada, with proven race winners on most of them. KTM needs superteam strength in depth and experience, too. Now it’s got it.

You could extend the Red Bull F1 parallel and argue that now KTM’s got its Max Verstappen in Acosta, the rest of the junior project might start to meander.

That’s not the case here. KTM's junior programme, replete with high-upside riders (competing right now for various Pierer Mobility Group brands) many of whom will be on the MotoGP grid one day, needs no introduction - it’s just its current Moto2 crop has no standout options you would turn down this 'superteam' line-up for.

Moto3's David Alonso is tracking to be its next best bet, but Acosta’s glorious adaptation to MotoGP will suggest to KTM it can take the same approach with Alonso - allowing him a couple of Moto2 years to maximise his chances of taking MotoGP by storm in 2027 instead of fast-tracking him.

David Alonso, Moto3

In the interim, KTM had the need and the opportunity for a partial fresh start, given how Augusto Fernandez and Jack Miller were performing. Neither was making a convincing case to be kept, no matter what KTM’s 2025 expectations were or who else was on the market.

So more strength, depth and experience for a title bid: tick. Obvious underperformers out of the line-up: tick.

But getting Bastianini and Vinales on board also gives KTM the flexibility to do something that would’ve been unthinkable four months ago. Demote - or drop - the man who has carried its hopes for nearly all of the 2020s so far.

OK, he hasn’t won an actual grand prix for nearly three years. But more than anyone else in the Ducati domination years, Brad Binder has been the rider you expect to see shoving himself down the inside of a Desmosedici, getting in the middle of a Bagnaia/Jorge Martin dust-up, outperforming everyone else on the same bike. Fourth in the championship last year despite there being eight Ducatis in the field, and nearly 100 points clear of the next best non-Ducati.

Brad Binder, KTM, MotoGP

Binder would be a title contender on a Ducati, wouldn’t he? Binder was overperforming on the KTM, wasn’t he? When KTM’s ready for a title, Binder will fight for it, won’t he?

Acosta leaving Binder thoroughly in his shadow from the outset made all those old certainties seem far more fragile.

He’s still seventh in the championship right now, only two places and 16 places behind Acosta. But there have been more mistakes, more baffled off-the-pace weekends, no expectation that the top KTM will be Binder’s anymore.

His body of work in MotoGP across 2020-23 remains outstanding. You can easily make a case that 2024 is the anomaly, whether it’s this year’s bike or this year’s tyres or just a rattled response to quite how good Acosta has been that’s caused it. That the Binder who intruded on Bagnaia and Martin’s epic Buriram duel last year or won in only his third-ever MotoGP start will be back before long.

Brad Binder, KTM, MotoGP

Or you wonder what an Acosta-level talent would’ve done with those 2020-23 KTMs and conclude Binder actually hasn’t achieved enough.

Keeping Acosta (forever if possible) was the easy decision. Ditching Miller and Fernandez was sadly nearly as easy.

Binder has - incredibly given what he’s done in MotoGP so far - become the KTM quandary for the long term. And - even with Acosta on board - KTM can’t really afford to have any question marks in its line-up if it’s going to topple Ducati.

If Bastianini and Vinales are trailing Acosta too once they’ve acclimatised to the RC16, then we know Binder’s been KTM’s real level and Acosta’s just an otherworldly inflation of it.

Brad Binder, KTM, MotoGP

If the newcomers also give KTM cause to reappraise Binder’s work so far, then their presence also gives it some obvious alternatives for 2026.

Or even mid-2025 - if KTM really wants to bring the Red Bull F1 spirit into MotoGP.

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