Following Öncü's Moto2 Step-Up - Ajo Reveals Moto3 Replacement
Following Deniz Öncü’s step-up to Moto2 for 2024, Red Bull KTM Ajo reveals their Moto3 replacement – it is yet another super talent.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo team made Deniz Öncü’s Moto2 promotion official on Tuesday, alongside the introduction of Ajo-newcomer Celestino Vietti.
Then, on Wednesday, they introduced the successor to the Turkish rider in the Moto3 team under the leadership of Aki Ajo.
The new addition is 17-year-old Spanish talent Xabi Zurutuza, who has already claimed two JuniorGP victories this season and currently holds the sixth position in the junior world championship standings.
Zurutuza will be joining forces with the confirmed rider José Rueda, who was the JuniorGP champion the previous year and emerged as the overall winner of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
The 17-year-old hailing from Seville has chalked up ten top-10 finishes in his debut season, including his first podium at the Catalunya GP just two and a half weeks ago.
Aki Ajo expressed his satisfaction, saying, “The Moto3 class has brought us immense joy this season, thanks to the blend of Deniz’s extensive experience and José’s rookie talent.”
“Both riders and the entire team have worked harmoniously, and I genuinely believe we’ve seen continuous improvement throughout the season.”
“It’s always crucial for us to prepare our riders for the next phase; it’s an integral part of our job. We are thrilled to have this pairing for the upcoming season.”
“They belong to a young generation brimming with enthusiasm and impressive track records in the lower categories. José Antonio Rueda and Xabi Zurutuza will undoubtedly form a dynamic duo in 2024.”
Rueda, gearing up for his second Grand Prix season, shared his thoughts, stating, “We’ve been making substantial strides this season, and I’ve seamlessly adapted to the team and Aki’s working approach.”
“We’re highly motivated to continue performing well and advance further up the ranks. Our aim is to be at the forefront and solidify the progress we’ve been making.”
Zurutuza, the fresh face in the team, eagerly anticipates his debut with the accomplished Red Bull KTM Ajo squad. He exclaimed, “This is a team I’ve admired since my childhood.”
“Every racer dreams of competing in the World Championship, and I have the opportunity to do so with KTM and Aki Ajo’s team.”
“I can hardly wait to start working, enhance my skills, and establish a strong rapport with the team. Our objective is to approach each race step by step and savor the experience.”
However, it’s worth noting that Zurutuza won’t meet the GP minimum age requirement of 18 until April 4, 2024, which means he is likely to miss the season opener.