Pedrosa to make MotoGP comeback with KTM wildcard in Austria

Retired three-time grand prix motorcycle world champion Dani Pedrosa will make his MotoGP comeback as a KTM wildcard in August’s Styrian Grand Prix.

The double 250cc and one-time 125cc world champion retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2018 season after a 13-year stint in the premier class with Honda.

Upon his retirement from racing, Pedrosa took up a role as an official test rider for KTM and has remained with the Austrian marque ever since.

Until recently, the 31-time MotoGP race winner had little interest in contesting any wildcards with KTM, though last month it was reported he was eyeing a grand prix return – however, at the time it was believed to be at Misano.

KTM has now confirmed he will join regular factory KTM riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, and the Tech3 KTMs of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona at the Red Bull Ring in August for the Styrian GP.

The Austrian marque has also confirmed Pedrosa will ride "an adapted development version" of the RC16.

"It's been super-interesting to be part of this project from the beginning with KTM in MotoGP and being able to share my experience with them," Pedrosa said.

"Step-by-step we did the best we could and now it's interesting again to go into a race because it gives you a different perspective compared to a normal test.

"It has been a long time since my last race and, of course, the mentality for a GP is very different to a test.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

"My focus for the GP is to try to test the things we have on the bike in a race situation.

"I wish to understand the requests riders might have for different sessions and technical features.

"Watching from home I can sense the improvements in the bikes and the racing but in order to understand more about MotoGP now, the new technologies and how to race and use strategies against the others we'll make this wildcard.

"It's difficult to talk about my expectations after being so long away from competition.

"It might all click into a racing mentality or it might not but we'll try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can."

KTM has not said whether Pedrosa will remain on the bike for a second wildcard outing in the following weekend's Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring.

Pedrosa may not be the only retired MotoGP star to make a comeback in Austria next month.

Petronas SRT has confirmed Franco Morbidelli – who underwent knee surgery last month – will be out of action until September's San Marino GP, with Pedrosa's former Honda stablemate Cal Crutchlow expected to take control of the 'A-spec' Yamaha in Morbidelli's absence.

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