KTM has officially confirmed that Mike Leitner will leave as the Factory’s MotoGP team manager, clearing the way for Francesco Guidotti to arrive from Pramac Ducati.
After a career as a rider and then Repsol Honda crew chief for Dani Pedrosa, Leitner helped prepare and then run the KTM MotoGP team, which made its premier-class debut at the end of 2016.
The Austrian factory has gone on to take 12 podiums, including five race wins. Losing concessions due to its 2020 success, KTM went on to endur a difficult start and finish to the 2021 campaign.
It’s four podiums, including two wins, were all compressed into a summer run of six grands prix and the season ended, as it had started, with star riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira struggling to break into the top six.
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director, said: “Mike has been a key figure in our mission to fight against the best in the world of road racing. Together we created a MotoGP structure with the right staff and the right riders which achieved outstanding results at the pinnacle of the sport.
“We started building our RC16 and the whole plan from a blank piece of paper and under his guidance we put a great team together; one that took on the challenge of MotoGP.
“Now, after seven years together, we decided to reorganize our MotoGP leadership for the future, and I cannot express how much we want to thank him for all the work he put into this project.
“Mike pushed very hard to get us from the back of the grid to the front row and his dedication has played a major part in our success story.”
59-year-old Leitner will now ‘transition into a consultancy post’, suggesting he is not in the running for the role of Suzuki team manager.
KTM is yet to officially announce Leitner’s replacement, but Guidotti is set to join the Austrian factory after overseeing Pramac’s best-ever season in MotoGP.
In total, Pramac celebrated eight podiums (and five pole positions), carrying them to the Independent teams’ title behind only the Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki factory teams.
Guidotti has been at Pramac since 2012, prior to which he worked at Aprilia (in both MotoGP and WorldSBK) either side of running KTM’s 250cc project. He will be re-joining Fabiano Sterlacchini, who spent 17 years at Ducati before arriving as KTM’s technical director earlier this year.
KTM will retain Binder and Oliveira in its factory team for 2022, with Moto2 stars Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez joining Tech3.
While Guidotti’s priority will be the factory team he also has plenty of proven experience in preparing young riders to become MotoGP stars of the future, with Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia all passing through Pramac to become race winners at the official Ducati team.
Meanwhile, Pramac now joins Suzuki in having a vacancy for MotoGP team manager in 2022.