The MotoGP season is closing ever nigh, and we know this because KTM just debuted its two teams in the MotoGP Championship, while giving us a glimpse at its 2020 machinery.
For a treat, we can see that the 2020 KTM RC16 stands out from its predecessor by its larger, more oval and more central air intake. The aerodynamics package on the machine continues to evolve as well, as KTM tries to spend its way to the front of the timesheets.
Mechanical bits aside, one of the highlights from the 2020 launch is the new livery (and quasi-new sponsor) for the Tech3 KTM squad, which is hocking Red Bull’s new cola product with a fetching orange, white, and blue livery.
On the Tech3 bikes will be Iker Lecuona (a 20-year-old rookie to MotoGP) and Miguel Oliveira (the pride of Portugal, and a standout from the 2019 season).
Both riders represent KTM’s hope for the future, and the goal is to develop their talents inside Herve Poncharal’s “satellite” team so they can be front-runners in future seasons.
On the factory side of the garage are Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder, who are eager to see the KTM RC16 make the steps necessary to compete at the front of the pack. In 2019, we saw moments of brilliance from Espargaro, and Brad Binder is another rider that has great hopes placed on his shoulders, now that he is on a MotoGP machine.
Make no mistake, this season is an important one for KTM, with the Austrian brand’s MotoGP program needing a big step forward in order to justify the huge expenses being spent in grand prix racing.
Early indications from the work put in by test riders Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio bodes well though, and it will be a story to follow for this year.
“2020 is about to begin and I would say we are exactly where we expected to be,” said Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director. “We’ve had everything on a road map and have followed it with the full support of the company and the board.”
“Last year we worked with a satellite team and four riders that provided valuable feedback and the groups spurred each other on, but, at the same time, it pushed us to the limit for resources and raised us to the peak where we are now. I would not say we have a ‘satellite team’ now but instead we are a KTM ‘pack’ with friendship and trust, and I include our test team in that whole organization.”
“It’s fascinating to be able to develop insanely powerful, high-quality motorcycles – the pinnacle of motorcycling engineering – and we push the materials to the limit. Then there are the riders; Pol brings so much to this project and we know Brad very well and it is a great story for us to have our own Moto3 world champion now racing in MotoGP.”
“Miguel will definitely put the factory guys under pressure this year and we have huge faith in Iker who has impressed us already. Working on the Moto3 project in 2012 was the foundation of our current MotoGP programme and one of the most important steps for our racing department because it allowed us to start, learn fast and build with largely the same group of people.”
“We’re happy to be able to play such a big role in that category. We will continue to give it everything we’ve got to make improvements in MotoGP. This is an important season for us. I’m convinced we have done an excellent job in the background to be lining up with a very good motorcycle on the starting grid but we will be measured by our lap-times!”
2020 KTM RC16 MotoGP Race Bike:
Iker Lecuona – Tech3 KTM:
Miguel Oliveira – Tech3 KTM:
Pol Espargaro – Red Bull KTM:
Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM:
Photos: © 2020 Sebas Romero / KTM – All Rights Reserved