The 2022 MotoGP season hasn’t shaped up for both Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Tech3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez. The Portuguese rider nabbed an unlikely race-win at the soggy Indonesian Grand Prix, but he’s struggled to find consistent results throughout the rest of the year. Fernandez’s luck has been even worse. After 13 races, the rookie only counts five championship points to his name.
While both riders experienced their fair share of disappointment this season, many critics hold KTM’s RC 16 culpable for the poor race performances. With Jack Miller joining the Red Bull KTM squad and Pol Espargaro returning to Tech3 under new Gas Gas badging, it was time for Oliveira and Fernandez to find a new home. Luckily, the recently rebranded Aprilia RNF team had their eye on the duo for some time.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Miguel Oliveira and Raúl Fernandez to the WithU RNF MotoGP Team from 2023,” stated Founder and Team Principal Razlan Razali. “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!”
Fernandez and Oliveira may not have much to show for their 2022 seasons, but both riders have front-running potential. Despite his lackluster results this year, Oliveira still claims KTM’s most race wins with four. Fernandez, on the other hand, is a legitimate wunderkind, breaking the Moto2 rookie wins record with eight victories in 2021.
“Our satellite project with Team RNF is taking shape in the way we conceived it from the very beginning. We have succeeded in securing two extraordinary talents,” proclaimed Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola. “We’ll have to be good at offering them both a technical package that will allow them to perform at their full potential”
Neither Aprilia nor RNF Racing has announced whether Oliveira and Fernandez will helm the RS-GP 22 or RS-GP 23 next year. Most satellite team riders pilot last year’s machinery, but even if the two are relegated to the RS-GP 22, we can easily envision them vastly improving on their 2022 results.