Speaking to Speedweek, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer announced that the Austrian company will be entering the MotoGP World Championship in 2017. KTM will race with a brand new machine that features a V4 engine and will be called the KTM RC16.
Pierer said that KTM will debut the V4 engine in May of 2015, and begin testing and developing the RC16 later that year – KTM may even wild-card the race bike during the 2016 season. Perhaps the biggest news though is that KTM plans to produce up to 100 units of the KTM RC16 race bike, which will be available to the public for a cool €150,000 to €200,000 (likely in the same way privateers can purchase a lower-spec machine than KTM’s Moto3 racer).
Developed specifically for the race track, the KTM RC16 isn’t quite a homologation special, in the same way that Honda’s consumer-version of the RCV1000R will be, if it ever finally comes to market. Instead, the KTM RC16 will be for well-pocketed track enthusiasts. For all that coin, owners can expect 1,000cc V4 lump (likely making over 200hp), a steel trellis frame, and WP suspension pieces.
Another interesting thing of note is that while the RC16 is being considered a direct replacement for the RC8 superbike, KTM is taking its cue from the EU Commission, which has been mulling performance restrictions on superbikes. Saying that no street bike should have 200hp, Pierer foresees KTM’s future “superbike” being track-only machines going forth.
Turning to the race track, there’s no word yet on what pricing will be for GP teams, though we would expect to see a price tag in the millions-of-euros range. Today’s news makes KTM one of a handful new manufacturers to show their interest in MotoGP, as Suzuki will return to the paddock for the 2015 season, and Aprilia will field a revised Open Class entry machine based on the RSV4 next season, before brining a full-prototype in 2016.
KTM will hopes to have the RC16 ready for purchase by GP teams by the 2017 season, and Pierer says that KTM will not field a factory team in MotoGP. Instead, the Austrian brand will operate in MotoGP the same way it has in Moto3, supplying machines to strong private teams, and working with them on development and support.
Stay tuned for more information, as we get it.