KTM’s new Dakar Rally racebike is a 450 to comply with displacement restrictions imposed in Dakar 2010.
Not to be lost in the EICMA Milan Bike Show headlines, KTM debuted its new 450-based rally platform during October’s Moroc Rallye 2010. Factory rider Cyril Despres claimed victory in the five-stage rally, beating Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues. Despres’ lead rival and fellow KTM-450-equipped comrade, Marc Coma, finished third in spite of 36 minutes worth of time penalties.
The Moroccan rally was the first competition test of the 450 Rally Replica, which the KTM riders will campaign in the upcoming Dakar 2011. KTM had a notorious split with the ‘Dakar’ Rally (which has ran in South America for the past two years due to security concerns), when the racing event imposed a displacement cap of 450cc. The Austrian marque had long dominated the African-based series with its 690 rally machinery, purpose-built for Dakar. Last year KTM supported “privateer” riders at Dakar on restricted 690s, including its de facto factory stars – Despres and Coma.
This time around, KTM’s Dakar duo will campaign the rally on the 450-based racebike. Details on the new ride are hard to come by, but Coma noted the difference between the 450 and the marque’s 690 racer, saying after the first stage of its Morrocan debut: “…the feeling with the new bike has been very good. There are some adjustments to improve, and get used to riding in a different way – a more attacking style rather than just using the power.”
KTM’s press release on the rally dubs the 450’s debut as a “Perfect performance by KTM riders and the new 450 Rally Replica.” It goes on to say: “The six days of desert riding was the perfect launch pad for the new KTM 450 Rally Replica and the team reported not a single mechanical issue with the new machine in the hands of the two best rally riders in the world. The results were a triumph for riders, machine and the entire team involved in its development.”
Stay tuned for more updates of the new 450 Rally Replica as the 2011 Dakar approaches this winter.