It would be safe to say that KTM is making a serious commitment to the new Moto3 racing format, which replaces the two-stroke 125GP class in 2012 GP racing. Not only is the Austrian firm developing its own Moto3 race bike from scratch, but KTM is also helping engineering firm Kalex develop a Moto3 platform which uses KTM’s purpose-built Moto3 motor for its power plant.
Announcing that it will also field a factory team in the inaugural Moto3 season, KTM has named three riders for its factory squad. Signing Sandro Cortese, Danny Kent, and Arthur Sissis, KTM is making its debut back into entry-level GP racing a big one. The Austrian company last raced in 125GP in 2009, and with its departure, left the series to be dominated by the Piaggio Group’s Aprilia and Derbi-badged machines.
Out of KTM’s three riders, Sandro Cortese is the most experienced. The 21-year-old German rider has competed in 125GP the last seven seasons, and is coming off his best season in the class. Finishing fourth in the 2011 125cc Grand Prix Championship standings, Cortese had two wins and six podium finishes in 2011.
Arthur Sissis, a 16-year-old Australian racer, is a graduate of the Red Bull Rookies Cup program, and finished second overall to Lorenzo Baldassarri. The Rookies Cup uses KTM 125cc race bikes, which bodes well for Sissis and his transition to the new 250cc KTM Moto3 machine.
Danny Kent is another graduate of the Rookies Cup program, and finished second in the series in 2010. This year, the British teen competed in 125GP, riding an Aprillia RS125 for the Red Bull AJO team. Kent finished 11th in the championship with eight top-ten finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The AJO team is expected to field two KTM Moto3 bikes as well, which should mean that the Austrian brand will be well represented at the 2012 season opener later next year.
KTM Moto3 Race Bike Renders:
KTM Moto3 Motor: