In an unexpected maneuver on paper, the builder of the orange motorcycles officially announced the goodbye of Leitner, one of the cornerstones of the KTM project, which will complete seven seasons in 2022. The loss of the former Austrian driver will be covered by Fabiano Sterlacchini, recently linked to Ducati but had already been away from the house for some time. Borgo panigale.
In the next few hours, the brand will announce the signing of Francesco Guidotti, which is a hard blow for the Pramac team, where he was the team manager, and also for Ducati, with whom the Italian maintained a close relationship. At this point it remains to be seen who is chosen by Paolo Campinoti, owner of Pramac, to take over the role that is now vacant.
Guidotti was also one of the candidates interviewed with Shinichi sahara, the head of Suzuki in MotoGP, and who continues in an endless search for a replacement for Davide brivio, which he signed for the Alpine Formula 1 team at the end of 2020.
Pit Beirer, director of KTM Motorsports, was full of praise for the figure of Leitner in the announcement of the farewell.
“Mike has been a key figure in our mission to fight the best in the racing world. Together we created a MotoGP structure with the right staff and the right riders who achieved outstanding results. We started to build our RC16 and the whole plan from a blank sheet of paper and under his guidance we formed a great team; one that took on the MotoGP challenge, “he said.
“Now after seven years together, we decided to reorganize our leadership for the future, and I can’t express how much we want to thank you for all the work you put into this project. Mike pushed hard to get us from the back of the grid to the front row and their dedication has played an important role in our success story ”.
Leitner He landed at the Mattighofen constructor in 2016 after a long stint as head of technician at Honda, always alongside Dani Pedrosa. With the Spanish rider, he won the 123cc (2003) and 250cc (2004 and 2005) titles, as well as three MotoGP world runner-ups (2007, 2010 and 2012).
From his time at KTM, the growth experienced by the RC16 since it officially debuted at the KTM stands out. Valencia Grand Prix 2016, with Mika Kallio as the pilot.
In just five years, the Austrian prototype has already accumulated a total of five victories and 13 podiums.