Team launches are always a little combative. They are, after all, the places where factory bosses, team managers, and riders stake out their intentions for the coming season.
They loudly proclaim that they are in it to win it, that their goal is to be champions sooner rather than later, and that they are plainly superior to their competition, both in talent and in engineering prowess and ingenuity. Team launches are a place for hyperbole.
Even by normal standards, though, the words spoken at KTM’s team launch were more than ordinarily abrasive. In an interview with Austrian broadcaster Servus TV, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer took plenty of potshots at his rivals.
He boasted of KTM passing BMW in terms of sales, adding that beating them in racing would be hard, “because they don’t race any more”. He spoke of competing against the Japanese manufacturers. “We love racing, and we love beating the Japanese manufacturers.” But Pierer reserved his sharpest ire for Honda.
Speaking of the surprise decision to compete in Moto2, he joked that the spec Moto2 engine was supplied by “our most hated rival Honda”.
He also noted that KTM’s entry into MotoGP brought balance to the MSMA, the manufacturers’ group that has a vote in the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP’s rule making body.
With three European manufacturers against three Japanese manufacturers, they were in a position to prevent Honda from bulldozing through proposals.
“Honda tries everything,” Pierer told Servus TV. On the one hand with money, they shower the promoter with cash, and if that doesn’t help, they pull all sorts of tricks. Now there’s a balance in the Grand Prix Commission. That’s important.”