Austrian manufacturer KTM has officially unveiled the livery of its MotoGP race bike for the first time at the Red Bull Ring, ahead of the factory team’s entry in the premier class championship in 2017. The long awaited debut of KTM will see full-time riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith take on the existing MotoGP mammoth factory teams Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, Suzuki among others. The two riders are currently a part of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and will be moving to KTM next season, and will join fellow members, Mika Kallio and Alex Hoffman.
Speaking at the unveiling of the MotoGP, KTM Group CEO, Stefan Pierer said, “Almost two and a half years ago we made the decision that when we become number one in Europe we would be forced to take the last step (to join MotoGP). Meanwhile, we’re now selling more than 60% of our 200,000 bikes on the road and to get accepted at the highest level of the sport you must take part in MotoGP, the F1 of motorcycle racing. Racing is our philosophy, our motivation and if we enter the segment, for sure we will have a learning curve but we will reach to podium – and my life’s dream is to be the world champion in MotoGP.”
KTM already has presence amidst other motorsport activities including Dakar rally and its was only time that the brand made its presence felt in MotoGP. For MotoGP organising firm Dorna Sports, the arrival of KTM only adds to the extensive list of Japanese and European manufacturers. The Austrian bike maker already has a presence in Moto3 and are certainly going make things interesting next season.
The KTM Factory Racing Team had some demo laps ahead of the Austrian GP today and will continue on to Misano in Italy for further tests after next weekend. This will be the first of a total of four tests before Kallio will compete as a wild card entry in the season finale in Valencia.