After previously leaving 250GP racing and the Dakar Rally, KTM has announced its withdrawal from another race series: 125GP. Choosing instead to focus its 2010 racing efforts on the RC8‘s upcoming World Superbike debut, KTM cites financial difficulties as its reason for leaving the GP scene. KTM will continue to be involved with the Red Bull Rookies Cup, which features talented young riders racing around on spec KTM 125cc race bikes.
We can’t be certain that this news coincides with the recent creation of a sport bike division at KTM North America, but the move does seem to suggest KTM is putting the majority of its weight behind the RC8’s introduction into mainstream racing. KTM has arguably only marginal direct benefit from running in the 125GP class as manufacturers continue to pull away from 2-stroke production motorcycles.
“In addition, in the 2010 season, KTM also wants to support especially selected racing teams in Germany and Austria (IDM Germany) with all of its energy and to make 125 cc racing machines available to engaged, talented young riders. In keeping with its “Ready to Race” philosophy, KTM will also strengthen its racing activity with the RC8 R, the Superbike flagship of the asphalt model range. Therefore KTM will be “Ready to Race” and present in the official Superbike and Superstock championships in competitions like the IDM (International German Motorcycle Championships).”
Despite this push to more street oriented ROI’s, the Red Bull Rookies Cup seems to be safe from the KTM chopping block.
“Next season, KTM will continue to place a main focus on its supported program, the Red Bull Rookies Cup, in the context of the MotoGP-World Championship in which the most talented young riders’ race perfectly prepared KTM 125cc production motorcycles at international level to help launch their professional racing careers,” the release continued. “Red Bull together with KTM has created the ideal infrastructure to continue this youth development program at the highest level.”