As the new Moto3 era starts in MotoGP, a class that replaces the 125cc two-stroke machines, KTM is “Ready to Race.”
The Red Bull KTM AJO Factory Racing Team announced its lineup this week, stating it will field three riders – Sandro Cortese of Germany, Arthur Sissis of Australia and Danny Kent of Britain.
Heading up the factory KTM team in Moto3, which will use a 250cc single cylinder four-stroke engine, will be Courtese. During the 2011 125cc season, Cortese took six podiums, which included two wins.
As for Sissis, he was a strong contender in the 2011 Red Bull Rookies Cup, finishing second behind winner Lorenzo Baldassarri. Kent spent 2011 as a rookie in the 125cc class, finishing 11th overall, and also finished second in the Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2010.
The head of KTM Motorsports, Pit Beirer, says the Austrian manufacturer has a strong commitment to Moto3. While KTM counts on the strong partnership with Red Bull and AJO Motorsports on the 100-percent Moto3 bike that’s 100-percent made and developed by KTM, Beirer says KTM is also working with Kalex Engineering, which is producing a parallel concept for the 250 cc single cylinder four-stroke bike to be fielded by other customer teams.
Pit Beirer says: “We are very pleased to have a team manager of the high caliber of Aki Ajo in charge of KTM’s Moto3 factory team. We can also be proud that someone of the managerial status of Jorge Martinez will be involved with the Kalex- KTM bike for his Moto3 team.”
Ajo will have another two riders on the KTM Moto3 factory bike in parallel teams, and in total, including the customer teams running the Kalex-KTM bike there will be nine KTM Moto3 riders on the grid of the competition, KTM reports.
Aki Ajo says: “The new season can provide some very exciting races, and naturally as a KTM Factory Team we hope to be right at the front from the start. We have a strong package so our aim is to be at the top of the new class. This is going to be a learning season for everyone but for us this is a long-term project and each year we can gain more. First priority is to establish the operations in the new class during testing, and then to keep things well coordinated and running smoothly. I feel once we get the ball rolling, the results will come.”
KTM’S re-entry into the MotoGP competition in the Moto3 class is a natural progression from its longer-term commitment in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, which it has supported as bike supplier since the competition first began. This highly competitive series for younger riders provides a fast track for emerging talent to enter into road racing at top international level. It is also an indication of KTM’s commitment to foster the next generation of talent in the sport, a natural extension of its “Ready to Race” philosophy.
The new Moto3 engine was first fired up on the KTM Racing test benches on Aug. 26 and since then comprehensive testing has been carried out. The project is on track and on time with its preparation for re-entry onto MotoGP when the 2012 competition begins.
KTM’s MotoGP history
KTM is not new to the MotoGP having contested the 125 cc and 250 cc class in the past with such prominent racers as Casey Stoner, Mika Kallio, Hiroshi Aoama and Marc Marquez in its factory teams.