Miguel Oliveira (88) and Raul Fernandez (25) are leaving KTM
Raul Fernandez has struggled on the Tech3 KTM RC16
Miguel Oliveira was not offered a new deal at the factory KTM team
RNF Racing has confirmed that Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez will race for the team in MotoGP next season.
The team, rebranded for 2022 following the demise of the SRT Petronas outfit, will swap from Yamaha to Aprilia machinery next year, becoming the Noale factory’s official satellite squad. RNF will run year-old RS-GPs.
Oliveira joins from the Red Bull KTM team after rejecting the opportunity to move back to Tech3. The Portuguese rider spent two seasons with Tech3, securing his and the team’s maiden premier class victories in 2020.
A promotion followed in 2021 and Oliveira was again victorious in Barcelona that year, and then in Indonesia earlier this season. However, results weren’t always consistent enough and both parties have some agreed to go their separate ways. Jack Miller takes Oliveira’s seat alongside Brad Binder at KTM.
Meanwhile, Fernandez also leaves the KTM Grand Prix setup after just a single premier class campaign with Tech3. Last season’s Moto2 rookie sensation has, like teammate Remy Gardner, struggled onboard the RC16, securing just five points so far.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Miguel Oliveira and Raúl Fernandez to the WithU RNF MotoGP Team from 2023,” Team Founder and Principal, Razlan Razali said. “It has not been a simple process, but together with Aprilia we were very clear on the riders that we wanted.
“They are both young riders with a good combination of experience, coming from Miguel, and Raúl who I’m personally a fan of since he shocked the Moto2 category last year to become Vice Champion. To finally secure him, is fantastic. Both Aprilia and we believe in the talent of both riders, so we can’t wait for them to ride for us next season!”
Both riders join Aprilia during its golden period in MotoGP. Factory rider Aleix Espargaro is currently challenging for the MotoGP title after securing one win and five podiums so far in 2022. Espargaro is 32 points behind leader Fabio Quartararo.
Meanwhile, Maverick Vinales is also starting to gel with the RS-GP following his switch from Yamaha mid-way through 2021. The Spaniard has finished on the podium in two of the last three races.
“Our satellite project with Team RNF is taking shape in the way we conceived it from the very beginning,” Aprilia Racing CEO, Massimo Rivola added. “We have succeeded in securing two extraordinary talents, two riders whom I greatly respect both from a human point of view and for their technical skills.
“Miguel has shown his talent in all categories, although he is still very young, he has already accumulated a lot of experience, winning four races in MotoGP, sometimes with dominant performances.
“At his side will be Raul, a rider I make no secret of having sought out several times. I think he is one of the most crystal-clear promises of recent years, what he did in Moto2 on his debut speaks volumes about his speed. We’ll have to be good at offering them both a technical package that will allow them to perform at their full potential.”
Current RNF rider Andrea Dovizioso will retire this Sunday following the conclusion of the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano. He’ll be replaced by Cal Crutchlow for the remainder of the season. Dovizioso’s teammate Darryn Binder is expected to make the move into Moto2.
At Tech3, the team will be rebranded under the GASGAS banner next season with Pol Espargaro leading the team. Gardner’s future is less clear, with current Moto2 frontrunner Augusto Fernandez being linked with a promotion from the Aki Ajo KTM team.
The RNF Aprilia announcement comes hours after Repsol Honda confirmed that 2020 MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir will ride alongside Marc Marquez in 2023 and 2024.