Red Bull KTM Ajo will compete in the 2017 Moto3 World Championship season with the pairing of riders Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder. Antonelli, aged 20, is a new arrival to the team and will partner Bendsneyder in the Finnish structure aiming to once again challenge for the title with KTM.
Born in Cattolica, Italy on February 23rd, 1996, Antonelli is one of the many World Championship riders to have participated in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (2010). Two years later, the Italian entered the World Championship in the Moto3 class. 2017 will be his sixth season in Moto3, and he will be back onboard a KTM RC250 GP after last doing so in 2014. He has a total of three wins and two further podiums to his name at Grand Prix level.
Bendsneyder, who achieved his first podium at the British Grand Prix last weekend, has earned his place in the Red Bull KTM Ajo team for 2017 with a great rookie season, scoring points in seven of the 13 races contested so far in his rookie season.
2017 marks the sixth season of collaboration for Red Bull, KTM and Ajo Motorsport in Moto3. The alliance has taken a World Championship (2012) and two runner-up spots (2014 and 2015) so far, and leads the 2016 Moto3 World Championship by 106 points.
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 rookies 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”