Pol Espargaro to leave Yamaha, Tech3 at end of MotoGP season

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Yamaha has announced that Pol Espargaro will leave its Tech3 satellite team at the end of the 2016 MotoGP season.

Espargaro joined Tech3 at the beginning of 2014 after winning the Moto2 title the previous year, and ended his debut MotoGP season sixth in the riders’ championship.

The Spaniard had hoped to be in contention for a ride with the factory Yamaha team of 2017 following Jorge Lorenzo’s decision to move to Ducati.

However, the Japanese manufacturer did not consider Espargaro for the ride, instead opting to sign Maverick Vinales from Suzuki.

Espargaro will now leave Yamaha at the end of the season, as confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announce that Yamaha and Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team-rider Pol Espargaró will go their separate ways at the close of the 2016 MotoGP season, when the Spaniard will start new racing challenges,” it read.

“Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. look back with great appreciation on Espargaró’s contributions to its racing successes over the past two and a half years and wish Espargaró the very best in furthering his racing career.

“Yamaha and the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team will continue to put their full efforts into finishing the 2016 season with Espargaró in the best possible manner and hope to share many more memorable moments during the upcoming 12 MotoGP rounds of the 2016 world championship.

“The 2017 Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team replacement for Pol Espargaró will be announced in due course.”

Espargaro confirmed on Thursday that he would be joining KTM for 2017 upon its arrival as a manufacturer in MotoGP.

“I am going to sign with KTM for the next two years and join the new adventure with them,” Espargaro said.

“New team, new bike in MotoGP: I saw the opportunity to try something different and to try and be with these guys in the future. Working together with KTM will be crazy hard, but I’m ready to work. They also showed me they’re ready to work.

“We have an agreement for two years and I want to thank Yamaha, Herve and Lin as they gave me the chance to grow in MotoGP and this is my dream come true.

“I have to say thanks and also to Ducati and Avintia because they showed a lot of interest too but we couldn’t go that way. Happy to face this adventure with KTM and finish this year well.”