The year 2017 is going to be ballistic for KTM lovers, because this time KTM Red Bull Racing will roll out their new bull, the RC16 in MotoGP. Till now, KTM racing team were only competing in Moto3 championships since 2012, and in the course of five years the team became champion four times. KTM is known for their powerful street machines from ages, and the time has come to prove the same thing; but now the battle is on the race-track. Let’s shed some light on KTM and their racing history.
In 1953, a businessman Erst Kronreif and an Austrian engineer Johann Trunkenpolz started a company christened as Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM). In 1954, they started the production of bikes with 20 employees and at that time the motorcycles were built at the rate of three motorcycles per day. Then after in 1957, KTM built its first sports motorcycle and named it the “Trophy 125cc”. KTM had also made an appearance in racing in 1956 at the International Six Days Enduro. And finally started production of their most popular series, the Dukes, which also is its most successful motorcycle line-up.
KTM got attention in the world of motor sports when it made an entrance in motocross racing. In the year of 1974, KTM won its first championship in the 250cc category with Guennady Moisseev. Consequently, KTM pocketed too many trophies in its bag, mostly in Dakar Rally and Atlas Rally. In 2003 KTM made its debut in Motorcycle Grand Prix championship in the 125cc category, in the same year following the racing KTM started the sponsoring and supporting racing in different categories, and successfully got a good result due to its efforts in Supermoto. After all of this, KTM started focusing on its own superbike and then developed its first superbike with a V-twin engine called the LC8. After that they built the 2005/2006 Super Duke 990, and the Super Duke 1290.
KTM was in the racing scenario since long but we will focus on the Moto3 category, which upgraded from 125cc 2-strokes to 250cc 4-strokes in 2012. These Moto3 bikes being extremely light and agile were the domination ground for KTM. These bikes weighed under 80 kilograms and their tall first gear took them up to 130 km/h without the need shifting. KTM has always been collaborated with Red Bull racing. Red Bull is synonymous with so many other sports and activities, from Cars to Winter sports, Stunt-Riding, Action Sports, and many more. Also, Red Bull can be found in KTM’s principal activities like Motocross, Super Cross, Enduro, Extreme Enduro, Rally, Moto3, Stunt-Riding and Red bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. So, anything which comes from KTM is automatically connected to Red Bull as well.
Let’s come to the most interesting part, MotoGP and Moto2, 2017 season. This season KTM Red Bull Racing is coming up with its new team in the Moto2 category, while Honda being the engine supplier, still providing 600cc engines to all. As for MotoGP, KTM has unveiled the new RC16 and has already participated in the Official MotoGP tests while running as a wild-card in the last race of the 2016 season at Valencia. KTM’s new project uses a “Screamer” engine which is a 90-degree V4 engine; the bike is built on the same tubular frame that is used in the Duke series. With Honda opting to ditch its screamer engine and go for an uneven firing order of its “Big Bang” engine, KTM remains the sole manufacturer using the even firing “Screamer” engine. What is truly fascinating though, is that KTM claims to have an engine red-lining at 19000 rpm, which makes its rev limit a full 1000 rpm more than the highest revving Ducati. KTM is using WP suspension in the RC16 instead of the Ohlins, which again makes it the only manufacturer to do so. The reason KTM opted for WP is obvious, they have been associated with WP for almost all the racing disciplines they take part in. Even the Moto3 bikes use them and also the Moto2 bike will be using them. The bike wears 17” Marchesini magnesium casted wheels with the Brembo brakes system. The exhaust is provided by Akrapovic.
Moreover, this time KTM will race with Pol Espargaro (Spanish) and Bradley Smith (British) with their racing numbers being 44 and 38 respectively. Both the riders were formerly riding for the Monster Tech3 Yamaha Team, but in 2017 both will ride the RC16 for KTM. Teammates then, teammates now. It is still quite early to judge their performance in the practice tests. So, we all are waiting for 26th March 2017. The first round of MotoGP season 2017, where we can have a real assessment of the KTM package.
Here are some details about the RC16 which KTM has published:
Engine – V4 (1000cc) with pneumatic valve train
Power – 250 BHP (we expect it to be more)
Maximum Engine Speed – 19000 rpm
Chassis – Steel Tubular Frame (Rear swingarm: Aluminium)
Wheelbase – 1400 mm
Height – 700 mm
Weight – 157 kg
Fuel Tank – 22 liters
Suspension – WP
Brakes – Brembo