Red Bull KTM Ajo and Can Öncü will take another step forward together next season, as the Turkish rider has been chosen to make his Moto3™ World Championship debut in 2019. He will become the youngest rookie in Moto3™ history during the 2019 Qatar GP, aged 15 years, 7 months and 12 days. Before that, the Turkish rider will have a first experience of the World Championship as a wildcard at Valencia next month.
Can receives the opportunity thanks to him becoming 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion. This year he and twin brother Deniz are also riding in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship in the FIM CEV with Red Bull KTM Ajo -as part of the Road to MotoGP™ Project.
Can Öncü started to make a name for himself internationally, along with his sibling, in 2016 in the Asia Talent Cup. The following year he participated in the same competition as well as the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, finishing third in both.
This year he won the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in his second year, with two races remaining. He had 5 wins and 5 further podiums in the 2018 season, whilst his brother Deniz achieved the runner-up spot in the series.
Both Öncüs and the Red Bull KTM Ajo Junior Academy debuted in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship this year, with the aim being to prepare riders for Grand Prix competition. Can already has two podiums: A second place in Albacete and a third place at MotorLand Aragon.
2019 will be the eighth season for the Red Bull KTM Ajo structure in the Moto3™ World Championship, and they have achieved a total of 33 victories and 39 further podiums to date. With the signing of Can Öncü, Red Bull KTM Ajo hope to continue enjoying success in one of the most exciting series in motorsport.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager: "First of all, I want to congratulate Can [Öncü] for winning the 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. He has had a spectacular season with many victories, podiums and strong performances, doing particularly well in fast and tight races. He's also fought back well in races and never given up.
Both he and his brother Deniz are showing in the FIM CEV that they have an incredible attitude and commitment, which isn't typical in riders as young as them. The whole Red Bull KTM Ajo team is excited to continue enjoying working with them. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Junior Academy was started with Red Bull and KTM to work with young talented riders, and Can is the first rider to come to the World Championships from this exciting project.
We had no doubt about taking advantage of this opportunity and welcoming Can into our Moto3™ World Championship structure with Red Bull and KTM to continue the work done in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and in the FIM CEV as well. We believe that he is fully prepared to face this great challenge, learn from it and enjoy it. I'm sure that he will surprise us positively. We are very happy to have him part of our Red Bull KTM Ajo Family, and look forward to provide good results with him also in the World Championships. We are thankful for Red Bull and KTM to have this project with them, and look forward to continuing the work we've done together."
Jens Hainbach - KTM Motorsport Vice President of Road Racing & WP: "This is a very important step for KTM, bringing another champion from the Red Bull Rookies Cup into the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. We are very happy with the results from Can [Öncü] and with his development over this year, which shows that the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the FIM CEV are good ways to prepare for the MotoGP™ World Championship. We have a lot of hope for him and we know that in 2019 he will do very well. He is 15 years old and the goal for him should just be to learn a lot and adapt to the championship. He has plenty of time ahead to grow and improve, and we are sure that in the future he will do a great job. In addition, the Red Bull KTM Ajo have a lot of experience with riders coming up from the Red Bull Rookies Cup and we believe in their handling of young talents. Seeing what they have achieved in the past, they can certainly repeat this success with Can."
Can Öncü: "I’m very happy to have received this opportunity to race in the MotoGP™ World Championship with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. It’s a dream come true. I can’t wait for next season, because I’m already familiar with the bike and the team from this year in the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship; that gives me great peace of mind. In addition, I will shortly have my first GP wildcard appearance, so there is no better reward for this dream year.
Thanks to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the Asia Talent Cup and the FIM CEV, I already know many of the circuits on the World Championship calendar, but my goal for the first year is to learn everything possible and gain experience with the KTM. I look forward to starting this new phase of my career, and I want to thank all those people who have made it possible."
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