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Pol Espargaro Confirmed for Austrian MotoGP Wildcard

Gold and Goose

KTM has confirmed a second MotoGP wildcard this year for Pol Espargaro, who will race at the Austrian MotoGP next month.

Espargaro made his first wildcard appearance this year at the Italian Grand Prix at the beginning of June, finishing 17th in the Grand Prix. The Austrian Grand Prix will take place on 16-18 August, meaning Espargaro will have waited two-and-a-half months between race appearances for KTM.

Espargaro's Austrian GP appearance will also be his second since stepping down from full-time MotoGP action at the end of last year, when he was replaced at the Tech3 GasGas team by Pedro Acosta, who is currently the top-placed KTM rider in the World Championship, two points and one place ahead of Brad Binder.

Pol Espargaro, 2024 MotoGP Italian Grand Prix. Credit: Gold and Goose.

Espargaro's retirement from full-time racing at the end of last year was largely down to the injuries he sustained at the beginning of 2023 at the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he crashed on Friday afternoon. Espargaro was then out for the entire first half of the season, before returning at the British Grand Prix, which was the first race after the summer break. At the next round, in Austria, Espargaro finished an encouraging sixth in the Sprint, but that was the only top 10 he scored for the rest of 2023.

"Mugello was a special circuit to make my return for Red Bull KTM, but it also doesn’t get much more special than Red Bull Ring," Espargaro said on the announcement of his Austria wildcard. "For the track, the place, the fans and the atmosphere and for how much this Grand Prix means to KTM it also feels a bit like a home race for me.

"I have some good memories of fighting for the win there but, like in Italy, the goal will be to get on the track with the KTM RC16 and continue our testing program. We will have work to do but I know the Austrian GP will also be a lot of fun.”

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