Taylor Knapp (left) joins Chris Fillmore (right) on the KTM / HMC Factory Superbike effort for the 2013 season.
MotoUSA rolled out to the IMS show in Long Beach, California over the weekend where KTM / HMC Racing seized the opportunity to announce the newest rider, Taylor Knapp, to its 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing campaign.
Competing in the professional ranks since age 16, the Michigan native has done it all from competing in the SuperSport class to the Daytona SportBike class, and finally the SuperBike class where he nabbed a career best fourth place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park this year. For 2013 Knapp will pilot a KTM RC8R in the SuperBike class alongside teammate Chris Fillmore.
“I’m so pumped,” said an excited Knapp. “It’s just a great company and team to be affiliated with and I’m just so happy to have landed here. I can’t wait to stop testing and jump on the RC8 and try out the superbike, I haven’t even ridden it yet so I’m just looking forward to getting on it and see how good it is. I’m good friends with Chris [Fillmore] and I’ve talked to him about the bike a lot and I’ve also raced against him so I kind of know a little bit of its strengths and weaknesses without even riding it so I kind of know a little bit of what to expect but hopefully I can jump on it and be comfortable right away and just get it dialed in. I plan to bump up the training program and I don’t have to worry about getting a job this off season so I’ll be able to focus more. I’ll be shooting for some top five finishes and hopefully get on the podium.”
After a successful 2012 season with Chris Fillmore, the team has decided to expand its SuperBike racing efforts for 2013. The team will go into the new-year with a better approach including more testing and developing. Last year’s efforts were finalized only a month prior to Round 1 at Daytona, giving the team limited time to prepare and test. We spoke to Fillmore about the changes to the team and what his thoughts were on his new stablemate.
“Yeah, I’m stoked on having a Taylor on board for 2013,” explained Fillmore. “I literally just found out today. It just goes to show that KTM is stepping it up this year. For 2013 we actually have developers helping out with the bikes so that will be a huge benefit. Last year the team was announced a month before Daytona and we didn’t have much time to prepare or test for the first round. Having Taylor on the team will able us to have feedback from more than just myself so I’m predicting a good year and hopefully some podium finishes.”
Be sure to look for the orange duo at Round 1 of the AMA SuperBike Series on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, March 14-16, 2013.