KTM is to enter the Moto2 class. The Ajo team is to expand its current Moto2 operation to two riders, with Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira (not Tom Lüthi, as we had previously reported) taking the place of the departing Johann Zarco.
The team is also to switch from Kalex to KTM, as part of KTM’s project to provide a career path for young riders from the FIM CEV Moto3 championship through all three Grand Prix classes to MotoGP.
The names of the riders involved should come as no surprise. Brad Binder is a race or two away at most from becoming the 2016 Moto3 world champion, and Miguel Oliveira came very close to winning the Moto3 title in 2015, as Binder’s teammate in the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team.
Both riders are highly rated both by KTM and by team boss Aki Ajo.
The KTM chassis project is interesting. The KTM Moto2 bike comprises a steel trellis frame and aluminum swingarm housing a spec Moto2 Honda CBR600RR engine, using WP suspension.
The use of a steel trellis frame is consistent with KTM’s design philosophy in Moto3, and now also MotoGP.
There was an issue with WP suspension, however. As WP is a subsidiary company of KTM, KTM came to a gentlemen’s agreement with Kalex on the matter of suspension technicians.
KTM will only use suspension technicians who have not previously worked with Kalex in Moto2, to avoid any appearance of using Kalex data to help set up the KTM.
The entry of KTM into Moto2 does not mean that the Austrian manufacturer is a candidate to replace Honda, when the engine contract comes up for renewal at the end of 2018.
At the presentation of the KTM MotoGP bike at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer made it clear that they had no interest in become spec-engine supplier for Moto2.
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.