At the end of last year we learned that KTM had committed itself internally to competing in the upcoming Moto3 class, which is slated to replace 125GP in 2012. At the time of that news, the Austrian company was still in the early stages of planning for its 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder race bike; but not wanting to let Honda take all of the Moto3 development spotlight with its NRS 250, this past week KTM began testing Moto3 chassis configuration at the Cartagena track in Spain.
Arriving with a modified 125cc chassis and 350cc SX-F thumper, KTM’s IDM Supersport rider Michi Ranseder took to the helm of the prototype race machine over the two day testing session. More of a prologue than the first chapter to KTM’s Moto3 story, this event makes it clear that KTM is still getting its bearings on what direction it wants to take its entry-level GP program.
Obvious in the current configuration is the over-the-limits 350cc motor from the KTM 350 SX-F, which is both extremely lightweight and powerful, and is likely being used because of the similar dimensions and power attributes expected from 250cc Moto3 race bike. KTM’s experience in the 125cc category will come in handy as the team is apparently starting with that chassis configuration, and building upon it to suit the characteristics of the larger displacement four-stroke motor.
The 350 SX-F isn’t a perfect analog for the new Moto3 race bike though, as KTM will have to decrease the 350′s bore from 88mm to the allotted maximum of 81mm. However, the Austrian company should have no problem meeting the required showing that it could supply at least 15 rider with similar race platforms. Moto3 is shaping up to have an interesting mix of OEM and boutique manufacturers competing in the series, such as Dutch tuner Bakker.