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Red Bull KTM Ajo have revealed their 2017 Moto3™ line up as Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder, as current championship leader Brad Binder makes the move to Moto2™ to join the new intermediate class team in the same project. Antonelli is a 3-time Moto3™ race winner and will partner Dutch rookie and Silverstone podium sitter Bo Bendsneyder in the Finnish structure, as the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad again aim to fight for the 2017 world championship crown.
Antonelli is one of the many World Championship riders to have participated in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, in 2010, before the Italian entered the world championship in the Moto3™ class two years later. 2017 will be his sixth season in Moto3™ and will see him back onboard a KTM after his last season with the manufacturer in 2014. Bendsneyder, who achieved his first podium at the British Grand Prix and is the most recent Red Bull Rookies Cup winner, has earned his place in the Red Bull KTM Ajo team for 2017 with a great rookie season in Moto3™ - scoring points in 7 of the 13 races contested so far.
2017 marks the sixth season of collaboration for Red Bull, KTM and Ajo Motorsport in Moto3™, and the alliance has so far taken a World Championship (2012) and two runner-up spots (2014, 2015). Rider Brad Binder leads the 2016 Moto3™ World Championship by 106 points heading into MotorLand Aragon - poised to enjoy his first chance at wrapping up the championship and writing another chapter in the success story of the project.
Niccolo Antonelli: "I'm very happy to join Red Bull KTM Ajo because it is a dream come true. This is a team that has produced several World Champions and that has always fought to be at the top, so I want to learn a lot here next year. The aim is to fight for victory in every race, or at least be on the podium when that is not possible. I want to improve on what I've done in the last two years in the World Championship and will fight as much as I can to do this. It is exciting to ride a KTM again. I’m sure the bike is very different compared with that I rode in 2014 -even better- and I can’t wait to try it out."
Bo Bendsneyder: "To be on the team one more year is a great opportunity. I want to thank Aki [Ajo] for trusting me and also Red Bull, KTM and the other partners. Now we have to concentrate on finishing this year well, and then we'll think about next season. I am convinced that we will do a good job. We have to keep our feet on the ground and work hard every day. It will be nice to work with a new teammate. I've felt very comfortable with Brad [Binder] and I'm sure I will also be so with Niccolo [Antonelli]. I'm looking forward to working with him.
This team is like a family and I really like that. Everyone is very sincere, they always say things directly and work to improve as a team. This is the most important thing. Next year I will do my best and see if I can be at the front, but first I want to concentrate on finishing this year well."
Aki Ajo - Team Manager: "Although we will start a sixth season as Red Bull KTM Ajo next year, it is always exciting to begin another year together. In addition, we are very pleased to, once again, keep getting great results: The victories and podiums for Brad [Binder] and the great improvement of Bo [Bendsneyder] in his rookie year. Because of his work and perfect attitude at all times, I am very happy to continue having Bo in the team.
I am, of course, very pleased with the rider who will occupy the place Brad has left behind as he moves up to Moto2. Niccolo [Antonelli] is the right person for the job. He is a rider who has a method and a way of working that are very similar to Brad’s, and to many of the riders we've had on the team in the past. I’m sure that they will form another great team. I do not want to miss this opportunity to thank Red Bull, KTM and our other partners for their confidence in Ajo Motorsport."
Christian Korntner - KTM Project Leader Moto3: "So far the 2016 season has been very successful and we hope to crown it with the rider's title going to Brad Binder, and hopefully also with KTM taking the manufacturer's title. Now we're delighted to be on course with Red Bull KTM Ajo for another successful year in 2017. After his outstanding title win in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2015, Bo Bendsneyder has gone on to have a remarkable rookie season in Moto3. We're confident that he'll continue this upward trend next season and be able to be more consistent. Niccolo Antonelli already knows the feeling of winning, and with the structure and team of Aki Ajo supporting him, he should advance to being an absolute winning rider next year."
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