Pit Beirer, Head of Motorsport for KTM, provided details of KTM’s plans to join the MotoGP grid in 2017 during a recent interview with MotoGP.com at Misano.
Pit Beirer, Head of Motorsport for KTM, provided details of KTM’s plans to join the MotoGP grid in 2017 during a recent interview with MotoGP.com. KTM CEO Stefan Pierer first broke the news about the Austrian marque’s GP plans during an interview with the German language magazine Speedweek back in late July 2014. There he described the RC16, a racebike powered by a 1000cc V-Four engine. He also outlined that KTM currently has no plans to develop a works team, but will sell bikes to interested teams instead. Pierer also named Stefan Bradl as a rider they’ll court to help develop the machine.
Speaking at Misano last weekend, Beirer was tight-lipped about KTM’s test/team rider choice, but confirmed much that Pierer previously outlined. Beirer discussed additional particulars regarding the planned construction of the machine, the testing and development timeframe and motivation behind joining the GP grid.
“We had plans at first to go into Moto2 grow in smaller steps but of course people must understand that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to build a KTM with a Honda engine inside,” explained Beirer in the MotoGP.com interview. “It would never be a real KTM so we decided to make the big jump and go into MotoGP.
“The engine concept we’re pretty sure will be a V-Four. It will still be in a tubular frame with WP suspension and it will be 100% built and made in Austria with KTM. We’re not looking for some external suppliers to build the bike for us. We want to make it a real KTM and go the hard way. We know it will be a tough project for us and we will need years now to step into the class and be ready, but I’m also sure with our engineers and R&D department we have at home we’re going to be able to do it. It’s a long-term project, we’re at the very beginning but we are really looking forward to being part of the big show in the motorcycle world. MotoGP is a dream for any manufacturer to be a part of.”
The current timeframe indicates that the first laps of the new machine will be turned late summer 2015, according to Beirer.
This won’t be the first time KTM has attempted a foray into Grand Prix racing. In 2005 KTM put a package on the grid with Team Roberts, powered by a V-Four KTM engine housed in a Proton KR chassis. The engine proved uncompetitive, however, and mid-season KTM announced it would cease supplying engines to Team Roberts.